Mae Martin brilliantly responded to saddened Bette Midler fans after the Hocus Pocus actor attacked trans-inclusive language on Twitter.
Midler disappointed fans on Monday (4 July) by suggesting trans-inclusive language was linked to the overturning of women’s rights, parroting a number of anti-trans dogwhistles on Twitter.
Feel Good‘s Mae Martin spoke out after “so many people [messaged them] about Better Midler’s disappointing tweet”.
“I just want to say this in case this is useful to you if you have people in your own life – older feminist icons even – who are perplexed and threatened by inclusive language,” Martin said in an Instagram story on Wednesday (July 6).
They continued: “Those figures, like Better Midler, fought hard for women’s rights and they’re upset when, in the context of reproductive rights, they read phrases like ‘people with uteruses.’”
Martin then went on to explain that “nobody is negating” the fact that women and AFAB people have a “unique struggle against an oppressive patriarchy”, and that no one who is pro-trans is “denying the power and magic of cis women.”
Martin continued: “I am trans/non-binary, not a woman. I am medically and culturally transitioning and so ‘woman’ is not an accurate word to use when describing me.
“The use of inclusive language when talking about abortion rights meant that I – with all my shared experience and shared threat of pregnancy as I also sleep with cis men – can participate and be acknowledged in the conversation and fight alongside women.”
They finished by saying: “I hope that people like Bette continue to learn and evolve. I really want to be able to enjoy Hocus Pocus 2, which I’ve been waiting for for about twenty years, feeling safe in the knowledge that my idol is on the side of personhood and freedom and unity, and would include me in that fight.
“The best part of life is continuing to learn and grow. And we have to try to rise above and have open arms and be full of love and respect.”
— The Guilty Feminist (@GuiltFemPod) July 6, 2022
Bette Midler was widely criticised for her original Twitter post, with many fans suggesting a boycott of her upcoming film Hocus Pocus 2.
“WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name,” she tweeted to her 2.1 million followers:
“They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators’, and even ‘people with vaginas’! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!”
Midler later backtracked amid criticism, saying: “There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that.”
Bette Midler sparked immediate alarm with her tweet. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Several commenters, including Irish drag queen Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera, told her not to “fall for the anti-trans panic fake nonsense,” reiterating that “no one is erasing women.”
Martin was applauded by several Twitter users for their statement, with one saying: “Your eloquence and empathy in explaining the world from varied perspectives continues to shine.”