A call to all trans activists to publicly disavow Andi Dier over her verbal attack of Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan is not Transphobic. She reacted to verbal abuse. And she deserves an apology.
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CW: Rant. Unpopular opinions.
TW: Discussion of TERFs and non-TERFs
This might very well be a highly unpopular piece. But I have to say it. I feel a strong urgency about this. I need all trans women to hear this.
Rose McGowan is not a TERF. So don't you dare label her as such. And Andi Dier should be ashamed of herself.
Rose McGowan is a rape victim, an abused woman who is promoting a book consisting of her account of being traumatized by men.
Do you know one thing that’s seriously unkind, uncivil, downright cruel to do to a rape victim who is talking about her pain? SCREAMING AT HER. Screaming at her is cruel. Screaming at her publicly is a foul, low thing to do.
I know some articles are claiming McGowan is transphobic, or used transphobic language. I insist she is not, and she did not. She used angry language, in anger at a woman who verbally attacked her.
This was Rose McGowan's event, not Andi Dier's. Rose had not said anything unkind to Andi - and her initial response to Dier's verbal abuse was conciliatory. "That's what I'm saying, that we're the same!..." she attempted to respond. She addressed Andi as "sister," and tried to have a conversation. In response, Dier's behavior was unconscionable. She berated the actress, calling her out publicly, hysterically, aggressively. She interrupted Rose and drowned her out in a screaming tirade.
As a trans woman, I am MORTIFIED.
"What have you done for trans women?" Dier screamed at McGowan.
Let me point out that Ms. McGowan has agency over her own activism. That she owes nothing to the world, and that she can choose to prioritize her own worldview (as we all do), her needs, her pain. She is not on Step 4 of some 12-step program, she is not making amends. She has not victimized anyone and does NOT deserve to be blindsided by another woman as she seeks solidarity around her trauma, for gawd's sake.
Dier’s rage stemmed from McGowan’s statements on RuPaul’s show. (anyone who follows me knows I’m not a fan of that show, or that performer. But let’s move on.)
On that show, McGowan apparently said, “That’s not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman, and a lot of the stuff I hear trans complaining about, yeah, welcome to the world.”
And I GET how this language can be triggering to us trans women. Because it's SIMILAR to language used by TERFs to attack us, call us 'men,' deny is our identity, dignity and our rights.
But MCGOWAN DID NONE OF THAT. She simply stated the *true fact* that most of us did NOT live in the world as women during our childhood, our teens, our early adulthood.
TERFs refer to this fact to rob us of our identity. McGowan referred to this fact for a very different reason: "yeah, welcome to the world," she said. It was an enjoiner for trans women to join the fray against misogyny. It was a reference to the very real experience of losing male privilege, or outward male privilege, and experiencing the harsh realities of the woman experience. It was a request for empathy.
Dier could've built alliance and community around shared experiences of abuse, shared marginalization (as Rose tried to do). Instead, Dier made the actress the target.
And a lot of the stuff I hear trans complaining about I’m like, yeah — welcome to the world. This is our world. Oh you really — this is how you’re being treated? Ok. Me too. And they ARE treated that way. But so are we. And it’s not fun. And a lot of them go from — it’s a shock. It’s really a shock to their system.”
Were Rose's words on that show insensitive? Yeah. Were they tone deaf? Probably. But they weren't exclusionary, and they were distinctly different from the TERF rhetoric.
Rose meant, "this hurt you're complaining about, this pain, I've lived with this pain all my life. You're just encountering it now."
And a lot of the stuff I hear trans complaining about I’m like, yeah — welcome to the world. This is our world. Oh you really — this is how you’re being treated? Ok. Me too. And they ARE treated that way. But so are we. And it’s not fun. ”
Trans activist Julia Serrano has a great piece on Medium, where she discusses the difference between "trans-unaware" and "transphobia." McGowan is narrowly focused on her experiences as a female actress in a male-dominated world - she has not had enough interaction with the trans experience to speak competently about it.
“Transwomen ARE women. What I’m trying — and been trying to say is that it’s actually identical. The stats are not that dissimilar.” — Rose McGowan
Personally, I take no offense at McGowan's view, though I believe she's off the mark. True -I am a woman, but I experienced childhood, adolescence and early adulthood in the cloak of maleness. So it stands to reason my experiences are different from my best friend's experiences. I did not start bleeding in chemistry class, suddenly realizing I have no pads on me. I did not ever worry, after being penetrated without my consent, that I might be pregnant. As a teen, I did not experience the discomfort of having random adult men stare as my ass. But McGowan would be surprised at some similarities. As an 11yo 'boy,' I was fondled on a train by a man in his thirties. As a 12yo 'boy,' I experienced my first kiss as a coercive experience I grudgingly went along with. As a 13yo 'boy,' I was pressured into sex by my 15yo girlfriend.
And Dier's statement is valid- while our cis counterparts worry about getting raped, we worry about getting murdered, once the assailant finds we 'tricked him.' But this is worth a CONVERSATION. Not an uncivilized shrieking tirade. There is absolutely no call for two victims of oppression to victimize each other!!
And frankly, I think it's hideously bad form for Dier to attempt to hijack McGowan's moment, to center herself and her own needs. Do you want the spotlight, Dier? Work your way up the ranks in Hollywood as Rose McGowan did. Suffer misogyny as she did for years. Write you're own goddam book. Hire yourself a manager, pay a publicist, book a tour and fill a venue, as Rose McGowan did. THEN you can grab the mic and have your precious 15 minutes.
I don't even disagree with any of the views Dier articulated. But Saint Janet and Mother Laverne save us all, have we lost all semblance of civility? Of human kindness, compassion?
I think it’s hideously bad form for Dier to attempt to hijack McGowan’s moment, to center herself and her own needs.
TRANS SISTERS, PLEASE LISTEN:
Do you realize how detrimental it is to trans women everywhere when you imprint the idea that we are violent, that we attack cis women, that we invade and overwhelm a female speaker in a manner UNCOMFORTABLY SIMILAR to the way this woman -an abuse survivor- has been overwhelmed and intimidated by MEN??
Do you realize that the Weinstein rep used this incident against McGowan, to trash-talk her in the media? ARE YOU GETTING THIS? Andi Dier caused an incident that benefited Harvey Winstein's PR, and caused the most vocal of Weinstein's accusers to cancel her book tour. Do you understand? A trans woman just helped one of the most toxic sexual predators of our time, *attacked the victim*, causing her to lose her composure while on stage, caused her to be so shaken that she cancelled further appearances.
There is an old expression, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Dier did not prove herself to be a friend of the #MeToo movement, or a friend of victims of sexual abuse. By default, by RESULT, she proved herself to be a friend of Harvey Fucking Weinstein. LET THAT SINK IN.
Rose McGowan on RuPaul’s podcast — a partial transcript
I want to now include the actual words Rose McGowan used on RuPaul’s podcast (much as it pains me to link to him). Because a lot of it is insightful. And NOT of it is TERF rethoric. Sure, some of her choices of language are faulty, and she’s centering her cis woman experience. But if you listen with an open heart instead of bitter bias, you can plainly see an ally talking. And her bullet points are fascinating thoughts for further conversation, not reason for indictment and hatred.
[20:27] “My first tribe was the transsexuals. The gay community was my tribe. Those were my people, these were my brothers. They raised me. I raised them. You know, we… I held my friends dying in my arms.” [20:32]
[1:04:47] Rose McGowan: “There are 23% of speaking roles now in movies that are for women. That’s it — just 23%. And you can imagine how those women are portrayed, by these dudes. Now, that is what we get to go see as our mirror. Now how offended were you a long time by gay portrayals in movies, in straight — in mainstream shit, right?”
Rose McGowan: “I noticed a lot of kids who were runaways too, and they were newly out, and got kicked out and all that crap — which is… beyond a nightmare (but you know, I was that way too, for various reasons)…
I saw sometimes, where they’re from a small town, they were like, “Well, it took me a long time to come out, because I thought, like, if I have to be gay then I have to behave like the ones I’ve seen in movies and TV… and I’m like, “yeah, but that’s written by a straight guy’s imagination of what he thinks a straight guy is.
So you don’t, actually. If you wanna? Sure, but you don’t have to. It’s your choice. And a lot of them, that’s the mirror they’re given.
So imagine the mirror girls are given. You see these woman tottering around in high heels with fake nails, fake hair, fake everything. You go to Miami and you’re like, “you’re completely an external-liver. You have now turned yourself into… you’re seeing yourself through men’s eyes. That’s the male gaze, something that has been documented and studied, and it’s women seeing themselves through men’s eyes. But not even a man, like one man — all of them. And it fucks your brain up.
And so, again, you and I have had very different experiences. And as a woman, it’s… You know, something that’s funny is, I talk to my trans friends about it, is I say you guys have never… I say guys. Whatever. You girls, women, have never asked me what it’s like to be a woman. You’ve never once asked me what it’s like to grow up as a woman. What’s it like to get a period? What’s it like when you grow breasts and people are suddenly screaming at you on the streets — what’s it like when your world gets loud? What’s it like?
Because they assume because they felt like a woman on the inside… that’s not developing as a woman. That’s not growing as a woman, thats not living in this world as a woman. And a lot of the stuff I hear trans complaining about I’m like, yeah — welcome to the world. This is our world. Oh you really — this is how you’re being treated? Ok. Me too. And they ARE treated that way. But so are we. And it’s not fun. And a lot of them go from — it’s a shock. It’s really a shock to their system.”
Michele Visage chimes in: “True, but I’ll say that most trans kids, and people that transition, are called out in society in different ways.”
Rose McGowan: “Oh, completely! And that’s a different path too. Correct. But some of the more surface stuff that I see is like verbatim, the same complaints. And definitely there is another set of circumstances, obviously.
But, you know, I think there needs to be, what you’re talking about all these communities being separated — you know, like the gay community, the black community… like, when I got really mad — Honestly I got mad at the HRC, I got mad at GLAAD, I got mad at NAACP when equal pay for women was voted down almost two years ago, there was not a peep from ANY one of these organizations. Not a peep. Like do you NOT represent women? Do you not? Like, nobody said a goddamn thing.” [1:07:52]
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Read another story by Cassie Brighter:
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