These celebrities are facing pushback for comments on the transgender community
Macy Gray and Bette Midler are being hit with public backlash after their comments on feminism and transgender identity
Singer Macy Gray and actress Bette Midler are facing criticism on social media for recent comments deemed by many to be transphobic.
Social media users have likened their political commentary to that of feminists that oppose transgender-inclusive language and policies, who are colloquially referred to as Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists or “TERFs.”
Gray appeared on “Piers Morgan Uncensored” on Monday, where she and the host discussed patriotism, representation and identity. The latter topic sparked controversy when host Morgan prompted Gray to define a woman.
“I will say this and everybody’s gonna hate me but as a woman, just because you go change your (body) parts, doesn’t make you a woman,” Gray said. “If you want me to call you a ‘her,’ I will, because that’s what you want. But that doesn’t make you a woman just because I called you a ‘her’ and just because you got a surgery.”
Gray continued, “Being a little girl is a whole epic book, you know? And you can’t have that just because you want to be a woman.”
Gray’s statement aligns with that of J.K. Rowling, another public figure who has faced criticism for comments on the transgender community. The author voiced her support of Gray after some social media users called for an end to Gray’s career. Rowling said in a tweet, “Today feels like a good day to ensure I’ve bought @MacyGraysLife’s entire back catalogue.”
Gray walked back her comments in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying, “I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ+ and transgender community and have been a supporter since day one. My statement on Piers Morgan was grossly misunderstood. I don’t hate anyone. I respect everyone’s right to feel comfortable in their bodies and live their own truth.”
Meanwhile, Midler tweeted on Monday, “WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don’t call us “women” anymore.”
Midler’s tweet was in response to an opinion piece from The New York Times.
The actress followed up on her tweet the next day, saying on Twitter, “There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that.”
She continued, “But seriously, folks, if anyone who read that tweet thinks I have anything but love for any marginalized people, go to Wikipedia and type in my name. ... I’ve fought for marginalized people for as long as I can remember. Still, if you want to dismiss my 60 years of proven love and concern over a tweet that accidentally angered the very people I have always supported and adored, so be it.”
Midler’s rise to fame included performing at the Continental Baths in the Ansonia Hotel. The New York City bathhouse was a gay club, and was created in effort to provide a safe space for gay men to socialize in the 1960s and ’70s, according to the New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project. She was nicknamed, “Bathhouse Betty” for her time at “The Tubs,” and has been referred to by members of the LGBTQ community as a “gay icon,” Pride Source reports, for her work in gay cult-classic movies such as “Beaches,” “Hocus Pocus” and “The First Wives Club.”
Midler’s tweet sparked debate on both inclusive terminology and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Despite Midler’s ties to the LGBTQ community, many on Twitter are unimpressed with her approach to advocating for women and transgender individuals.