Singer and gay icon Bette Midler is getting slammed for an anti-transgender screed she posted to social media claiming that recognizing the humanity of transgender people will “erase” women.
“WOMEN OF THE WORLD!” she wrote. “We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators’, and even ‘people with vaginas’! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!”
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Midler was referring to inclusive language used in some contexts to refer to people of all genders when it’s appropriate. For example, “menstruators” refers to people of any gender who menstruate, including many cisgender women, non-binary people, and transgender men.
Midler has had many gay fans in her decades-long career. She performed in a gay bathhouse in the early 70s – something she’s still proud of – and has used her platform to speak out for gay rights.
So many of her fans were disappointed to see her tweeting a J.K. Rowling-esque statement about how trans identities are an attack on cis women’s identities.
No one is trying to erase women with inclusive language about people who need abortion care. No one is calling you anything but what you prefer. You should extend that courtesy in return.
— roxane gay (@rgay) July 5, 2022
Really disappointed in this as a trans man and a Bette Midler fan.
Bette, including trans men in the conversation about reproductive health does not harm women. We have the same organs, and even greater vulnerability, as cis woman.
— Evan Urquhart (@e_urq) July 4, 2022
No. Don’t fall for the anti-trans panic fake nonsense. No one is erasing women. In a few small healthcare cases where appropriate they are using trans inclusive language. That’s all.
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) July 4, 2022
Oh Christ almighty you bought this bullshit
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) July 4, 2022
Trans people did not overturn Roe V Wade. Trans people tend to be one of the most pro-choice groups of people you’ll ever meet, as bodily autonomy in medical care is kind of crucial to trans existence. They are not your enemy
— Louisa 🌈👭 (@LouisatheLast) July 4, 2022
Cis women have nothing to lose and everything to gain by acknowledging the links between the anti-abortion movement and transphobia, which are all about attacking bodily autonomy in support of patriarchal supremacy.
— The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (@IBJIYONGI) July 4, 2022
Mate don't fall for this word game nonsense :-(
Trans people just want the same rights you want
— Katy Montgomerie 🦗 (@KatyMontgomerie) July 4, 2022
No, Bette. Being inclusive raises us all up, it does NOT strip us of our rights. Come on, don’t do this. Don’t divide us MORE.https://t.co/DinlOiQN8x
— Dr. Fangirl, PhD (Chrisha) (@drfangirlphd) July 4, 2022
What words would you use to be inclusive with the transmen who still have uteruses and can get pregnant?
— twistedchick (@twistedchick) July 4, 2022
I am a woman. People call me a woman. I have no problem with people calling women women.
I just don’t think we should call groups of people that aren’t all women “women.” That’s not erasure; it’s reality.
— Courtney Milan 🦖 (@courtneymilan) July 4, 2022
Nobody is saying you shouldn't be a woman. We're just saying that others who are not women also need access to eg abortion care and it's accurate and loving to use language that includes them.
Like how going from "mankind" to "humankind" didn't erase men but included women.
— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) July 5, 2022
I am not a woman. I menstruate. I’m in IVF & trying to gave a baby & will be a pregnant person. I thought you were an ally to queer folks but I guess queers like me don’t count to you.
— Yonah (they/them/elle) (@remembrancermx) July 4, 2022
With all due respect, Bette, trans-inclusive language doesn't take anything away from us.
— Julie DiCaro wrote a book (@JulieDiCaro) July 4, 2022
Bette – the trans men, trans masculine, and nonbinary people I know (and I'm confident most I don't) are fighting tirelessly for equal rights, very much for women as well. What is helpful about attacking us? Why be so cruel about us when we're all in the same fight?
— Preston Max 🏳️⚧️ (@prestonmaxallen) July 4, 2022
As a woman without a uterus, I support inclusive language to normalize that trans men need reproductive healthcare too, 100%
It's not trans people who are taking away my right to bodily autony
We're all fighting the same fight.
— Tere Kirkland 🦀 (@TereKirkland) July 4, 2022