Bette Midler disappointed fans and social media users Monday after posting a controversial tweet attacking trans-inclusive language.
“WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name!” the “Hocus Pocus” actor tweeted.
“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!”
Some people use terms like “pregnant people” instead of “pregnant women” in order to acknowledge that transgender and nonbinary people who do not identify as women can also get pregnant and give birth.
Inclusive language is a way of acknowledging and respecting the diverse ways people express their gender and sexuality. Advocacy groups and other proponents of inclusive language for pregnancy argue it doesn’t exclude women to acknowledge all people who can get pregnant. Critics have harnessed it as another tool in the culture war, arguing that it diminishes or erases women.
Midler, who has been celebrated as a gay icon, divided Twitter users with her tweet, attracting backlash from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
Rory O’Neill, a gay rights activist and well-known drag queen who goes by Panti Bliss, implored Midler not to “fall for the anti-trans panic fake nonsense.”
Another Twitter user, who identified herself as a fan, said it was “heartbreaking” to see Midler’s take.
“The point of the anti-choice movement is to try and control the bodies of people assigned female at birth, including trans men, and force gender identities and gender roles on *all* of us.”
Colin Munro Seymour, a contender in Season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. under his stage name, Crystal, noted that the “fight for women’s rights INCLUDES trans people – trans rights do not erode women’s rights.”
“We’re all fighting this together and this trans-exclusionary rhetoric does NOTHING to help that,” he wrote.