Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley, 71, wades in to Trans rights debate

‘There’s a difference between acceptance and normalizing’: Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley, 71, slams parents who ‘confuse’ their children about gender identity branding child-sex changes a ‘sad and dangerous fad’

  • Stanley posted what he say were ‘My Thoughts On What I’m Seeing’
  • With it, he waded in to the polarizing debate around gender-affirming care

Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley has criticized parents who he says confuse their children about sexuality and gender identity while branding child-sex changes a ‘sad and dangerous fad’.

With a post titled ‘My Thoughts On What I’m Seeing’, the 71-year-old – who with Gene Simmons helped found the iconic rock n’ roll group in the 1970s – weighed in on the debate around gender-affirming care.

‘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 cases allow it,’ he wrote in his statement shared on Twitter. 

He said that while ‘there ARE individuals who as adults may decide reassignment is their needed choice,’ he criticized ‘turning this into a game or parents normalizing it as some sort of natural alternative’. 

He also warned against ‘[…] 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.’

Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley (pictured performing onstage on April 15 at a rock festival) has criticized parents who he says confuse their children about sexuality and gender identity while branding child-sex changes a ‘sad and dangerous fad’

With a post titled ‘My Thoughts On What I’m Seeing’, 71-year-old Paul Stanley – who with Gene Simmons helped found the iconic rock n’ roll group in the 1970s – weighed in on the debate around gender-affirming care

‘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,’ he concluded. 

The post to the social media platform comes as debates about the controversial topic have raged across the US, with several states weighing up laws that will either restrict or protect rights of transgender people.

Within hours of his post to the social media platform, it had garnered millions of views – and prompted praise and backlash from users across the political spectrum.

Supporters of Stanley’s statement applauded him for posting it, with several people replying to his post thanking him for joining the debate and taking a stance.

Critics, however, pointed out that the musician and his bandmates made their career wearing flamboyant makeup and clothing – relevant on account of much of the debate around Trans rights also including drag performances.

Others referred to Stanley and Kiss performing songs about sexualizing underage girls – such as the 1977 song ‘Christine Sixteen.’

It was not clear what prompted Stanley’s post. Reporting on his statement, Rolling Stone magazine wrote what was clear from his statement was that he had incorrectly conflated sexuality and gender identity.

The music magazine pointed out that that these develop independently, and shared guidance outlined by the Mayo Clinic – a nonprofit American academic medical center.

‘People communicate their gender to others through gender expression. This may be done through mannerisms, clothing and hairstyles,’ the clinic explains on its website. 

‘Gender identity develops separately from sexual orientation. People’s sexual orientation is related to whom they’re attracted to on a physical, emotional and romantic basis.’

Within hours of Stanley’s post to the social media platform, it had garnered millions of views – and prompted praise and backlash from users across the political spectrum. Pictured: Paul Stanley performed with Kiss in 2013 (file photo)

As transgender people have increasingly gained acceptance and visibility, conservative lawmakers have zeroed in on restricting their rights: keeping transgender children off girls’ sports teams and out of certain bathrooms, and blocking them from receiving gender-affirming medical care.

Paul Stanley’s full statement 

My Thoughts On What I’m Seeing

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 cases allow it. 

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. 

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.

In response, a growing number of Democratic-controlled states have moved to protect such rights, especially access to gender-affirming care.

In developments this week, one governor told lawmakers they’ll have to return for a special session if they fail to pass some restrictions. 

Meanwhile, two others signed protections into law and a transgender lawmaker was barred from a Statehouse floor amid a standoff with colleagues.

The push by conservatives has expanded over the last few years and become, alongside abortion, a major theme running through legislative sessions across the country in 2023, and is expected to be a hot-button issue in the 2024 election.

Six states have laws or policies in effect barring minors from receiving puberty blockers or hormone therapy. 

Similar provisions have been adopted but paused by courts in three more.

They’ve been signed into law but haven’t yet taken effect in another eight. And one more bill is awaiting a governor’s signature. 

In Missouri, the gender-affirming care battle is playing out in the Legislature and in court.

In April, Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey used an emergency rule to impose restrictions on both children and adults before they can receive such care. 

Just before it was to take effect this week, a judge halted enforcement until at least Monday and said she could push the date back further while legal challenges are considered.

Meanwhile, in Montana, House Republicans barred a Democratic transgender colleague from the floor of the chamber for the rest of the legislative session as punishment. Zooey Zephyr had told Republicans there would be ‘blood on your hands’ if they approved a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. 

The bill passed, though it has not yet been signed into law.

Supporters of Stanley’s statement applauded him for posting it, with several people replying to his post thanking him for joining the debate and taking a stance. Critics, however, pointed out that the musician (left) made his career wearing flamboyant makeup and clothing

Elsewhere, the US Department of Justice on Wednesday filed a lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s law, scheduled to take effect July 1, banning transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care. 

The federal government said ‘no person should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status.’ 

However, as some states move to bring in restrictions, others have taken steps to protect the rights of transgender people.

Governors’ signatures in Minnesota and Washington on Thursday made them the latest of at least nine states with laws protecting access to gender-affirming care.

Vermont lawmakers passed bills with similar provisions this week, though they haven’t been signed.

The measures aim to shield patients, health care providers and other actors from punishment or investigations into whether they violated gender-affirming care and abortion bans in states that have them.

So far, officials have not been trying to reach across state lines to enforce bans.

In tandem with the push to restrict transgender rights, conservatives in several states have also lately targeted drag shows as part of what critics say is a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Alabama became the latest to do so after legislation was filed Thursday that would add a provision to the state’s anti-obscenity laws.

The bill by Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney would prohibit “male or female impersonators, commonly known as drag queens or drag kings,” from performing in K-12 public schools, libraries and other public places where minors are present.

The measure is pending before the House State Government Committee.

Tennessee was the first state to place strict limits on drag shows. But last month a federal judge there temporarily blocked that measure after a group filed a lawsuit claiming it violates the First Amendment.

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