Alice Cooper is the latest artist to weigh in on sexual identity, responding to a question about fellow musical peers Paul Stanley and Dee Snider previous comments on gender affirming care for kids. Within his answer, he states, “I’m understanding that there are cases of transgender, but I’m afraid that it’s also a fad.”
Speaking with Stereogum, he continues, “I’m afraid there’s a lot of people claiming to be this just because they want to be that. I find it wrong when you’ve got a six-year-old kid who has no idea. He just wants to play, and you’re confusing him telling him, ‘Yeah, you’re a boy, but you could be a girl if you want to be.'”
“I think that’s so confusing to a kid. It’s even confusing to a teenager. You’re still trying to find your identity, and yet here’s this thing going on, saying, ‘Yeah, but you can be anything you want. You can be a cat if you want to be.’ I mean, if you identify as a tree… And I’m going, ‘Come on! What are we in, a Kurt Vonnegut novel?’ It’s so absurd, that it’s gone now to the point of absurdity.”
The singer then turned his attention to woke culture, adding, “The whole woke thing… Nobody can answer this question. Maybe you can. Who’s making the rules? Is there a building somewhere in New York where people sit down every day and say, ‘Okay, we can’t say ‘mother’ now. We have to say ‘birthing person.’ Get that out on the wire right now?’ Who is this person that’s making these rules? I don’t get it. I’m not being old school about it. I’m being logical about it.”
“It’s getting to the point now where it’s laughable. If anybody was trying to make a point on this thing, they turned it into a huge comedy. I don’t know one person that agrees with the woke thing. I don’t know one person. Everybody I talk to says, ‘Isn’t it stupid?’ And I’m going, ‘Well, I respect people. I respect people and who they are, but I’m not going to tell a seven-year-old boy, ‘Go put a dress on because maybe you’re a girl,’ and he’s going, ‘No, I’m not. I’m a boy.’”
Circling back to the topic of gender identity, Cooper continues, “I say let somebody at least become sexually aware of who they are before they start thinking about if they’re a boy or a girl. A lot of times, I look at it this way, the logical way: If you have these genitals, you’re a boy. If you have those genitals, you’re a girl. There’s a difference between ‘I am a male who is a female, or I’m a female that’s a male’ and wanting to be a female. You were born a male. Okay, so that’s a fact. You have these things here. Now, the difference is you want to be a female. Okay, that’s something you can do later on if you want to. But you’re not a male born a female.”
When the interviewer suggested that they didn’t think parents were encouraging doubt in their kids identities and just hoped that parents would listen to their children to find appropriate care, Cooper responded, “Well, I can see somebody really taking advantage of this, though. A guy can walk into a woman’s bathroom at any time and just say, ‘I just feel like I’m a woman today” and have the time of his life in there, and he’s not in the least bit… He’s just taking advantage of that situation. Well, that’s going to happen. Somebody’s going to get raped, and the guy’s going to say, ‘Well, I felt like a girl that day, and then I felt like a guy.’ Where do you draw this line?”
What Did Paul Stanley and Dee Snider Say About Gender Affirming Care?
Back in late April, KISS vocalist Paul Stanley shared his thoughts on gender affirming care for youths in a volunteered posting that he titled, “My Thoughts on What I’m Seeing.” Within the discussion, he shared his beliefs that gender affirming transitions were “a sad and dangerous fad” where parents were supporting their children’s transitions.
“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.”
He added, “There ARE individuals who as adults may decide reassignment is their needed choice 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 … down a path that’s far from the innocence of what they are doing.”
Stanley concluded, “Children who have no real sense of sexuality or sexual experiences [get] 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 [has] turned it into a sad and dangerous fad.”
The post garnered mixed reactions, and a few days later Stanley walked back some of his commentary. “While my thoughts were clear, my words clearly were not. 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,” wrote Stanley, then acknowledging that it’s a more layered discussion in concluding, “A paragraph or two will remain far too short to fully convey my thoughts or point of view, so I will leave that for another time and place.”
Then, as Pride Month started for the LGBTQIA+ community, Stanley commented to TMZ, “Everybody has a right to be who they are. Life’s too short to be anyone else.” He went on to add, “Everybody should celebrate who they are. Be proud of who you are as long as it’s something worth being proud of. … What’s the criteria for being proud is being a good person, not transgender or any other gender.”
As for Dee Snider, a comment he made on Stanley’s initial posting on gender-affirming care set off came with its own consequences. Among the many commenting on Stanley’s thoughts on the matter was Snider, who tweeted, “You know what? There was a time where I ‘felt pretty’ too. Glad my parents didn’t jump to any rash conclusions! Well said, @PaulStanleyLive.”
That, in turn, upset a potential opportunity for the singer, as officials for the San Francisco Pride parade revealed that they were planning to have Snider perform at this year’s event while making “We’re Not Gonna Take It” the unofficial rally cry of the event. But after Snider’s comments to Stanley, they spoke with Snider and decided to call off the plans before an announcement was made.
“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,” said SF Pride in their press release distancing themselves from Snider. “The message perpetuated by that tweet casts doubt on young trans people’s ability to self-identify their gender.”.
“Transgender people, particularly transgender women and children of color, are disproportionately affected by hate and violence. And with transphobia proliferating and becoming more and more enshrined in law throughout the country — we have to stand up for the most impacted among us,” they added.
Snider, in turn, offered his own statement after the removal of the invite for this year’s SF Pride was made public.
“Why did the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade invite me, Dee Snider to be a Grand Marshal in their parade and sing ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ on the center stage at what could possibly be the most important LGBTQIA+ gathering in the organization’s long history,” asked the singer, then answering, “To quote Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle’s senior political writer, ‘…Dee Snider [is] a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights…’ I have ALWAYS stood with the community and its important causes. I was honored to accept the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade’s invitation and I even gave my blessing for ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ to be used as this year’s battle cry [‘Queer Not Gonna Take It!’).”
“Is that transphobic,” he continues. “I was not aware the Transgender community expects fealty and total agreement with all their beliefs and any variation or deviation is considered ‘transphobic.’ 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? Why not?”
Sharing his viewpoint, Snider explains, “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. I do not believe they are mentally developed enough.”
Backing up his point, he adds, “Dr. Jennifer Katzenstein [director of psychology, neuropsychology and social work, and co- director of the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital] says, ‘…it is important for parents to remember that development varies across children, and that one age (such as age 7) is not the end of development, or a ‘deadline for developing reasoning skills.’ Cognitive development continues into adulthood, and as parents, it is our responsibility to continue to challenge and support our children.'” Well said. It’s just good parenting.”
Snider continued with a plea to the Transgender community, “I am a proud moderate. I drive a Tesla and a Hummer. I have too many guns but strongly support intelligent gun control. I have four children yet fight for a woman’s right to choose. I am a motorcycle riding environmentalist. I am a heterosexual who proudly supports LBGTQIA+ rights. To me (and I believe to many of you) none of these things are mutually exclusive. 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. 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.”
“I. Dee Snider, will continue to support the Transgender community and their right to choose even if they reject me and moving forward, I am open to educating myself so I can be a better ally. Sincerely, Dee Snider Your cisgender, crossdressing ally,” he signed off.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can be an ally when discussing transgender people there are many resources online to educate yourself, including GLAAD.