Paul Stanley, 71-year-old musician of KISS, and parent to 3 children ages 11-16 made a public statement on social media last weekend that slams parents who support gender affirming care for their children.
In his statement titled My Thoughts on What I’m Seeing, the rocker claims “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.” There is so much misunderstanding, assumption, and ignorance in Stanley’s statement.
Stanley misrepresents gender identity with sexual orientation and refuses to acknowledge the medically accepted definitions of each. It is time that we properly educate the ignorant. Let’s start with definitions published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical organizations. 1. GENDER IDENTITY: A person’s deep internal sense of being female, male, a combination of both, somewhere in between, or neither, resulting from a multifaceted interaction of biological traits, environmental factors, self-understanding, and cultural expectations. 2. SEXUAL ORIENTATION: A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender(s) to which they are attracted; sexual orientation and gender identity develop separately.
Stanley makes this assumption that parents who support their Trans children are doing this for “fun” and calls it a “sad and dangerous fad” and he somehow separates children dealing with gender dysphoria from “those truly affected” as if children are not people and do not have the sense to have a gender identity. Meanwhile the AAP is clear that not supporting Trans children with gender affirming care “can prolong or exacerbate gender dysphoria and contribute to abuse and stigmatization.”
I have news for Mr. Stanley, normalization is acceptance, and we are not teaching our children to be Transgender. I can barely get my kids to eat their veggies and getting them to clean their rooms is a fight, and he thinks we can convince our children to change their gender identity; that is pretty far-fetched. The real fad here is the anti-Trans fad being fueled by right wing conservatives, many of which are treating Transgenderism as a perversion when it has nothing to do with sexuality whatsoever. Stanley himself has built his career on wearing women’s clothes, hairstyles, and makeup and has made music that sexualizes teenage girls and yet there is no clue as to where this statement he made came from. Stanley thinks that “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” as if we are not just loving our children and keeping them safe. Stanley underestimates the child experience while the AAP reports that the average age of Trans child being aware of their gender identity being “different” than their assigned sex at birth as eight and half, with most coming out around age 10.
The American Psychological Association continues to stand by their statement that “Being transgender or gender variant implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities; however, these individuals often experience discrimination due to a lack of civil rights protections for their gender identity or expression.… [Such] discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of transgender and gender variant individuals.” This is why we need to be an ally to our Trans children! They need our advocacy and support because too many people fail to understand what they face and continue to be ignorant of science and medical advice.
The AAP continuously validates the need to affirm Transgender youth saying that Trans youth “often confront stigma and discrimination, which contribute to feelings of rejection and isolation that can adversely affect physical and emotional well-being.” There are many youths who believe that they “must hide their gender identity and expression to avoid bullying, harassment, or victimization and they disproportionately experience high rates of homelessness, physical violence (at home and in the community), substance abuse, and high-risk sexual behaviors.” Statements such as the one made by Stanley are becoming more and more visible as anti-Trans legislation continues to cloud our rainbows to isolate our children even more. Parents who are abhorrent to using affirming pronouns for their children and even punishing them by challenging school policies that allow teachers to affirm Trans youth are the one’s leading their children into high-risk situations and pushing them away. Our children need support to explore their gender identities and they deserve to live authentically in their own homes and in places that are supposedly meant for them, such as schools.
Stanley’s statement also reads “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 steps further down a path that’s far from the innocence of what they are doing.” I will just reiterate that as parents who support their Transgender children, we are not leading them down a path far from innocence. This again implies some perversion and is misleading. It is obvious that the perverted minds are those that imagine that gender identity is combined with sexuality yet people like Stanley can make money off of sexualizing teen girls in the KISS song Christine Sixteen; but that’s okay as long as they aren’t Trans, right? Wrong! As parents, allies, Queer and Trans folk, we must stand up against statements like these and use this opportunity to properly educate those who seem to be very confused and obviously think that they’re incapable of harm.
Keep supporting your babies and extend your hugs to Trans youth who don’t have the support they need and deserve at home. There is nothing wrong with using the affirming pronouns and supporting our children’s gender expression, and if that leads to a continued desire to live in a body that matches a child’s identity then any medical decisions should be and only be between the youth, their doctors, and a supportive parent, not at the hands of right-wing conservative politicians nor perverted rockstars.