Alice Cooper, who built a career partly out of defying and toying with gender expectations, said he’s afraid that being transgender “is a fad” in a new interview with Stereogum, where he also leaned on right-wing, anti-trans scare tactics about “woke” culture and bathrooms.
During the chat, Cooper was asked about his thoughts on gender and sexuality in light of the controversial comments made by some of his peers on the issue, including Kiss’ Paul Stanley and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. While the interviewer even noted Cooper gave some pretty progressive quotes about bisexuality and pansexuality in 1974, Cooper’s answers this time around were decisively more conservative.
“I’m understanding that there are cases of transgender, but I’m afraid that it’s also a fad, and I’m afraid there’s a lot of people claiming to be this just because they want to be that,” he said. “I find it wrong when you’ve got a six-year-old kid who has no idea. He just wants to play, and you’re confusing him telling him, ‘Yeah, you’re a boy, but you could be a girl if you want to be.’”
Cooper went on to express concern about unnamed forces pressuring kids or adolescents, saying, “You’re still trying to find your identity, and yet here’s this going on, saying, ‘Yeah, but you can be anything you want. You can be a cat if you want to be.”
He added later: “So I say let somebody at least become sexually aware of who they are before they start thinking about if they’re a boy or a girl. A lot of times, I look at it this way, the logical way: If you have these genitals, you’re a boy. If you have those genitals, you’re a girl. There’s a difference between ‘I am a male who is a female, or I’m a female that’s a male’ and wanting to be a female. You were born a male. OK, so that’s a fact. You have these things here. Now, the difference is you want to be a female. OK, that’s something you can do later on if you want to. But you’re not a male born a female.”
In his comments, Cooper seemed to be conflating, confusing, or not allowing for much nuance between distinct concepts of gender identity, gender expression, and the sex a child is assigned at birth. The Mayo Clinic, for instance, notes that “a child’s gender expression doesn’t always point to the child’s gender identity,” and vice versa. Furthermore, despite Cooper’s handwringing over kids being pressured or forced into thinking about gender in this way, parents are largely encouraged to not “rush to label [their] child” and simply listen as, “Over time your child will continue to tell you what feels right.”
To a certain extent, it’s understandable that Cooper wouldn’t be super well-versed in gender theory or how to raise and treat a child that may be questioning their gender identity. Far more concerning was his regurgitation of far-right, anti-trans talking points. Cooper railed against the “whole woke thing,” and wondered who was “making the rules” about using “birthing person” instead of “mother” (instead of, you know, just being cool with some slight linguistic tweaks that are more inclusive).
Most egregious, though, was when the interviewer pushed back on Cooper’s statements about trans kids and parents. The interviewer argued that parents weren’t encouraging doubt in their kids, but hopefully listening to them and finding doctors to provide appropriate care. Cooper responded with the unfortunately classic canard about bathrooms.
“Well, I can see somebody really taking advantage of this, though,” he said. “A guy can walk into a woman’s bathroom at any time and just say, ‘I just feel like I’m a woman today’ and have the time of his life in there, and he’s not in the least bit… He’s just taking advantage of that situation. Well, that’s going to happen. Somebody’s going to get raped, and the guy’s going to say, ‘Well, I felt like a girl that day, and then I felt like a guy.’ Where do you draw this line?”
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