Great, Bette Midler is Transphobic Now?

Ok, this is a tough one. All you Winifred Sanderson fans out there, maybe take a seat, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

This weekend, Broadway legend Bette Midler pressed send on a tweet that seems confused at best, transphobic at worst.

Some context: Midler has been vocal in the past few months on the subject of bodily autonomy and gun control laws. She’s a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, which is what makes the following tweet so distressing (and confusing.)

Here’s where things get confusing: Midler seems to think that the gender-inclusive language used by queer and trans folks is actually a right-wing strategy to erase women. Which is it…not. As several trans and queer activists have already pointed out.

Even legendary queer writer (and excellent Tweeter) Roxane Gay chimed in to tell Midler she was missing the mark:

Trans icon Nicole Maines set the record straight, explaining that gender-inclusive language doesn’t actually “take away” anything from cis women. Meanwhile, TERFs entered the chat, proud to claim Midler as one of their own. But is she? The sad part is that this isn’t the first instance of transphobic commentary from Midler. A few years ago, the singer and actress came under fire for a transphobic tweet aimed at Caitlyn Jenner. Perhaps journalist Kris Vire put it best:

We don’t want to have to boycott this movie, Bette. Please make it right.

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