Following backlash to social media comments that many viewed as transphobic, both Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Kiss’s Paul Stanley have released statements attempting to clarify their views.
Last week, Stanley tweeted out a missive echoing anti-trans talking points and misinformation suggesting that young children who identify as trans are participating in a “dangerous fad” and criticizing parents who affirm their children’s gender identity. Snider retweeted the statement, saying, “There was a time where I ‘felt pretty’ too. Glad my parents didn’t jump to any rash conclusions!”
Both rock stars’ comments perpetuate the current moral panic around transgender youth that has led to Republican efforts to ban gender-affirming care for young people in states across the country.
The backlash came quickly. Snider, who was scheduled to perform his band’s song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at this year’s San Francisco Pride celebration, was dropped from the event.
In a statement, San Francisco Pride noted Snider’s longtime support for LGBTQ+ rights. “However, when we were notified about the tweet in which Dee expressed support for Kiss’s Paul Stanley’s transphobic statement, we were heartbroken and angry,” the statement said. “The message perpetuated by that tweet casts doubt on young trans people’s ability to self-identify their gender.”
“We have mutually agreed to part ways, but appreciate Dee seeing this as a teachable moment and a reminder that even allies need to be educated to ensure that they are not casually promoting transphobia.”
On May 4, Stanley tweeted another statement, attempting to walk back his original post. “While my thoughts were clear, my words clearly were not,” he wrote. “Most importantly and above all else, I support those struggling with their sexual identity while enduring constant hostility and those whose path leads them to reassignment surgery. It’s hard to fathom the kind of conviction that one must feel to take those steps.”
On Friday, Snider released a longer statement reacting to the controversy via Facebook. “I was not aware the Transgender community expects fealty and total agreement with all their beliefs and any variation or deviation is considered ‘transphobic,’” he wrote under the header “So, I hear I’m transphobic. Really?”
“So, my lifetime of supporting the Transgender community’s right to identify as they want and honoring whatever changes they may make in how they present themselves to the world isn’t enough?” he continued, noting his pro-LGBTQ+ bona fides. “I’ve recently stated I do not believe young children are ready to decide their gender allocation. I believe their choices should be supported and accepted by their parents, but I do not think kids have the mental capabilities to make rational, logical decisions on things of a magnitude that will affect them for the rest of their lives.”
Snider went on to describe himself as a “proud moderate,” and criticized “some” in the trans community for describing him as transphobic.
“The Transgender community needs moderates who support their choices, even if we don’t agree with every one of their edicts. For some Transgender people (not all) to accuse supporters, like me, of transphobia is not a good look for their cause,” Snider wrote. “Don’t reject people who are willing to march, sing and stand with you just because we don’t perfectly see eye-to-eye. We are still your allies.”
Snider closed by reaffirming his “support” for the trans community and claiming that he is “open to educating myself so I can be a better ally.”