'Stupid panicky fascists': Kiss’ Paul Stanley ripped for dismissing transgender care as 'fun'
Gender-affirming care for transgender youths has become a major culture-war battle in the United States, where Republicans in state legislatures have been pushing an array of anti-trans bills.
Paul Stanley, a long-time lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the heavy metal ban Kiss, weighed in on the controversy in an April 30 Twitter post. And his comments have drawn plenty of criticism.
The 71-year-old Stanley argued that gender reassignment surgery is appropriate for some adults but questioned gender-affirming care for "kids."
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The heavy metal star wrote, "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 case allow it. There ARE individuals who as adults may decide reassignment is their needed choice by 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."
Stanley added, "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."
It didn't take long for negatives responses to appear on Twitter. Liberal pundit and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tweeted, "It's not a 'game,' you asshole. What you do is a GAME. What they face - internally and now externally due to stupid panicky fascists like you, externally - is an excruciating ordeal."
Another well-known media figure, NBC News' Ben Collins, "The idea of KISS (!) of all bands complaining about gender nonconforming people is just… chef's kiss."
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Some Twitter users alluded to Kiss' use of makeup on stage — a practice that goes back to the band's formation in New York City in the early 1970s. Kiss' music and imagery influenced a long list of heavy metal and hard rock bands, from Mötley Crüe to Twisted Sister to Quiet Riot.
Twitter user @JoJoFromJerz posted, "No one is leading a child down a path to gender reassignment surgery because they like to play dress up. Did anyone do that to you as an adult."
@TheGnudz wrote, "This is a very disappointing take, especially from someone who wore high-heels, makeup, & teased up hair his whole career. As a young kid your band helped teach me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I guess it was just gimmickry after all."
@Hlandecker commented, "This is really disappointing. You're assuming a significant portion of parents are engaged in 'some sort of game, as though the vast majority aren't making serious, loving, supportive decisions based on knowing their kids. I encourage you to look more deeply."
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