Rapper and actor T.I. said in a podcast interview that aired Tuesday that he goes to the gynecologist every year with his daughter to "check her hymen" and make sure it's "still intact."
In an interview with Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham on Ladies Like Us, T.I. talked about his parenting style, among other topics. When asked about whether he's had the "sex talk" with his daughters, he pointed to his approach with his eldest daughter, 18-year-old Deyjah Harris, who's in her first year of college.
"Not only have we had the conversation — we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen," T.I. said. "Yes, I go with her."
He then mentioned that after her 16th birthday party, he "put a sticky note on the door: 'Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.'"
"So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor comes and talk, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism," T.I. said. "He’s like, ‘You know, sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, 'Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain't no problem.'"
T.I. also noted that he was informed the hymen can be broken in ways other than through sexual penetration. "And so then they come and say, ‘Well, I just want you to know that there are other ways besides sex that the hymen can be broken like bike riding, athletics, horseback riding, and just other forms of athletic physical activity,'" he said. "So I say, ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.'"
Then he added, "I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact."
T.I.'s comments sparked some backlash on social media, with many expressing shock and disgust.
You can hear the whole interview here. (T.I.'s comments on his daughter begin around the 44-minute mark.)
Neither Deyjah Harris nor T.I.'s publicists responded to requests for comment. But as the backlash to T.I.'s comments grew online, Harris's account liked several tweets criticizing her dad.
Virginity testing, which often involves a doctor inspecting the hymen for tears or stretching, is widely considered an unnecessarily invasive practice that has no medical benefit. A report from the National Institutes of Health found that these tests can have a deeply negative psychological impact on women and girls.
In a series of tweets denouncing T.I.'s comments, prominent OB/GYN Dr. Jennifer Gunter wrote, "The hymen is no virginity indicator, 50% of sexually active teens do not have a disrupted hymen."
"The hymen means nothing physically and hymen exams are medically not a thing and are unnecessary," she added. "And support a disgusting patriarchal trope."
The World Health Organization has vehemently denounced virginity testing, calling it "a violation of the human rights of girls and women."
"'Virginity testing' has no scientific or clinical basis," the organization said in a statement. "There is no examination that can prove a girl or woman has had sex – and the appearance of girl’s or woman’s hymen cannot prove whether they have had sexual intercourse, or are sexually active or not."