A video of Rose McGowan at a book signing in Manhattan at a Barnes & Noble surfaced and so did the ugliness of her brand of feminism.
One of the audience members Andi Dier, a transgender woman, asked McGowan about her comments on RuPaul’s: What’s the Tee? podcast in 2017 where she is quoted as saying:
“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, 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.”
She has since been labeled a TERF (Tran-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) because of those comments and has been called out by transgender women.
During the exchange at Barnes & Noble, McGowan begins to shout down Dier using the force of her microphone. In response to Dier’s question about what McGowan has done about the transgender women being placed in male prisons, McGowan responds with “what have you done for women?” This response clearly demonstrates that her podcast comments were no slip of the tongue, but part of her core belief that trans women are not real women. As security begins to close in on Dier, McGowan tells her to “Sit. Down.”, as an emotionally shaken Dier gathers her things to leave and refuses to be silenced by the exclusionary tactics. Dier shouts back that McGowan was ignoring and silencing transgender women from her cisgender privilege. McGowan flips Dier off. Then as security escorts Dier out of the function McGown gets one more dig. “Don’t put your label on me, I do not come from your planet, leave me alone.”
McGowan followed these antics with a speech about how her intention was to say we are the same. (Excuse me, what?) She is encouraged by people in the room to continue her TERF behavior and given a pass for shutting down the voice of a transgender woman because she deems herself “Brave” and the only thing she wants to hear is gratitude for all she does for the world. Yeah, Rose McGowan is canceled.
On the heels of 2017, that was deemed to be the deadliest year for transgender people, it was reported on January 8, 2018, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien was the first reported death of the year allegedly killed by her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien. Three days later Viccky Gutierrez was reported to have been burned in her apartment. The facts in the Gutierrez murder case are still being investigated but a suspect, Kevyn Ramirez, has been arrested and is being held on a $2 million dollar bail.
The Williams Institute Reported in 2015, 31% to 50% of transgender people have experienced domestic violence, which is notably higher than the 28% to 33% in the general population. But we may never know the real numbers of transgender deaths because often times they aren’t reported as such. Family members will refuse to acknowledge the transgender status of a victim and will bury them under their birth name rather than their chosen name. Sometimes as a refusal to accept who their family member truly was in life; other times it is to avoid the hassle of dealing with a religious ideology that would deny them the decency of a burial due to their loved one’s gender identity.
People in the transgender community face unique barriers when it comes to finding jobs, housing, or even the protections that are afforded to cisgendered people in the same situations. So no, it is not the same and no amount of grandstanding and shouting will make it the same.
A lot of you may have seen the sickening signage one woman carried to the 2018 Women’s March in Vancouver, where Dier expressed on social media her discomfort at joining the Pink Pussy Hats because of not only the lack of intersectionality but outright hate.
As we fight for equality, intersectionality is paramount. Exclusionary behavior only stands to stagnate true progress, but we must amplify actions like the ones McGowan demonstrates time and time again to highlight the hypocrisy that has gone hand-in-hand with the Women’s Rights movement since it’s inception. So many are shoved into the shadows of the movement that it has become an echo chamber for one idea of what it means to be a woman. A white matriarchy that only cares about able-bodied persons born with vaginas who use their privilege as a way of stating that their needs must be prioritized. But this isn’t the Oppression Olympics. Progressives must tackle every battle of inequality with equal fervor, as it is all part and parcel of the same system. Until we lift up Black Women, other Women of Color, Transgender Women, and Women with Disabilities, only a small portion of the work is being done.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own – Audre Lorde
Find Pamela Getz on Twitter @goddesspamela
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the location of the transphobic photograph at a Woman’s March in D.C. It was a Woman’s March in Vancouver. This has been corrected now.