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Twisted Sister & Kiss frontmen say “encouraging” trans kids is a “dangerous fad”

Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley Photo: Shutterstock

Paul Stanley, the frontman and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Kiss, thinks that parents who affirm their trans kids’ gender identity are encouraging a “dangerous fad.”

The shock rocker — whose band is known for wearing theatrical make-up, wild hair, and tight, sparkling leather outfits— made his thoughts known on Sunday in a mostly incoherent statement that seemed to come out of nowhere. It echoed anti-trans talking points and misinformation.

“There is a BIG difference between teaching acceptance and normalizing and even encouraging participation in a lifestyle that confuses young children into questioning their sexual identification as though some sort of game and then parents in some cases allow it,” Stanley wrote in a missive posted to Twitter under the header “My Thoughts On What I’m Seeing.”

“There ARE individuals who as adults may decide reassignment is their needed choice,” Stanley continued, magnanimously conceding that trans people do, in fact, exist, “but turning this into a game or parents normalizing it as some sort of natural alternative or believing that because a little boy likes to play dress up in his sister’s clothes or a girl in her brother’s, we should lead them steps further down a path that’s far from the innocence of what they are doing.”

“With many children who have no real sense of sexuality or sexual experiences caught up in the ‘fun’ of using pronouns and saying what they identify as, some adults mistakenly confuse teaching acceptance with normalizing and encouraging a situation that has been a struggle for those truly affected and have turned it into a sad and dangerous fad,” he concluded.

On Monday, Dee Snider of hair metal band Twisted Sister — also known in the 1980s for their big hair, glam make-up, and outrageous stage outfits — weighed in as well, retweeting Stanley’s post.

“You know what? There was a time where I ‘felt pretty’ too,” Snider wrote. “Glad my parents didn’t jump to any rash conclusions! Well said, @PaulStanleyLive.”

As Rolling Stone notes, Stanley seems to be recklessly — or perhaps just ignorantly — conflating sexuality and gender identity in his statement, while Snider seems to have mistaken a taste for glamour and theatricality with gender expression.

More troublingly, Stanley’s convoluted comments echo the “social contagion” narrative being propagated on the right, with anti-trans politicians and media personalities arguing that kids who come out as trans are succumbing to peer pressure and social media influence. Research published last year debunked this narrative, but that hasn’t stopped Republican lawmakers across the country from citing it to justify state-level legislation restricting or outright banning young people’s access to gender-affirming care.

Every major medical organization in the United States recognizes that gender-affirming healthcare is evidence-based, safe, effective, and can be medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria in young people. Minors rarely, if ever, receive irreversible treatment for gender dysphoria.

But the heart of Stanley’s “argument” seems to be the mistaken belief that parents can just order gender-affirming surgeries for their kids on-demand, and that social transition — which can simply involve affirming a child’s pronouns — can somehow cause irreparable damage.

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