Accusation of transphobia: Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider questions expectations of LGBTQ+ community

Author Stefanie Nysand - 8.5.2023

A few days ago, accusations of transphobia against KISS singer and guitarist Paul Stanley and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider caused a stir. It all started with a statement by Paul Stanley in which he said that children’s innocent play with gender roles should not lead their parents to hasty conclusions such as gender reassignment. Unsurprisingly, this lead to Paul Stanley being quickly accused of transphobia, with quite a few arguing that they expected otherwise from someone who made a career while wearing long hair, make-up, sequin outfits and platform shoes.

However, there were also many people who agreed with Paul Stanley, amongst others Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider:

“You know what? There was a time where I ‘felt pretty’ too. Glad my parents didn’t jump to any rash conclusions! Well said, @PaulStanleyLive”

– Dee Snider

Following his comment, Dee Snider was also accused of transphobia. While Paul Stanley quickly backpedalled, Dee Snider stands by his words, questioning the expectation of the LGBTQ+ community of “fealty and total agreement with all their beliefs”, especially after being dropped by the San Francisco Pride:

“So I Hear I’m Transphobic. Really? Why did the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade invite me, Dee Snider to be a Grand Marshal in their parade and sing ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ on the center stage at what could possibly be the most important LGBTQIA+ gathering in the organization’s long history? To quote Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle’s senior political writer, ‘… Dee Snider [is] a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights…’ I have ALWAYS stood with the community and its important causes. I was honored to accept the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade’s invitation and I even gave my blessing for ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ to be used as this year’s battle cry [‘Queer Not Gonna Take It!’]. Is that transphobic? I was not aware the Transgender community expects fealty and total agreement with all their beliefs and any variation or deviation is considered ‘transphobic’. So, my lifetime of supporting the Transgender community’s right to identify as they want and honoring whatever changes they may make in how they present themselves to the world isn’t enough? Why not? I’ve recently stated I do not believe young children are ready to decide their gender allocation. I believe their choices should be supported and accepted by their parents, but I do not think kids have the mental capabilities to make rational, logical decisions on things of a magnitude that will affect them for the rest of their lives. I do not believe they are mentally developed enough. Dr. Jennifer Katzenstein [director of psychology, neuropsychology and social work, and co-director of the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital] says, ‘… it is important for parents to remember that development varies across children, and that one age (such as age 7) is not the end of development, or a ‘deadline’ for developing reasoning skills. Cognitive development continues into adulthood, and as parents, it is our responsibility to continue to challenge and support our children.’ Well said. It’s just good parenting.” – Dee Snider

Dee Snider goes on to say:

“I am a proud moderate. I drive a Tesla and a Hummer. I have too many guns but strongly support intelligent gun control. I have four children yet fight for a woman’s right to choose. I am a motorcycle riding environmentalist. I am a heterosexual who proudly supports LBGTQIA+ rights. To me (and I believe to many of you) none of these things are mutually exclusive. The Transgender community needs moderates who support their choices, even if we don’t agree with every one of their edicts. For some Transgender people (not all) to accuse supporters, like me, of transphobia is not a good look for their cause. Don’t reject people who are willing to march, sing and stand with you just because we don’t perfectly see eye-to-eye. We are still your allies. I, Dee Snider, will continue to support the Transgender community and their right to choose even if they reject me and moving forward, I am open to educating myself so I can be a better ally. Sincerely, Dee Snider, your cisgender, crossdressing ally.” – Dee Snider

In a press release, the San Francisco Pride states that they were “heartbroken and angry” when they were “notified about the tweet in which Dee expressed support for Kiss’s Paul Stanley’s transphobic statement”. According to San Francisco Pride, it was “mutually agreed to part ways”, but San Francisco Pride appreciates that Dee Snider sees this “as a teachable moment and a reminder that even allies need to be educated to ensure that they are not casually promoting transphobia.”