SF Pride thought they had a real publicity coup in the making with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister — who no one under the age of 45 is likely to remember — agreeing to perform his 1984 hit "We're Not Gonna Take It" at this year's Pride festivities.
The song, and the image of Snider performing it onstage before tens of thousands of queer and trans people, would be a terrific clap-back, the SF Pride board thought, to all the Republican legislators across the country currently obsessed with drag queens and trans youth. But now, as ABC 7 and others are reporting, SF Pride is rescinding that invitation because maybe Snider isn't that much of an ally for trans youth, according to a tweet he posted on Sunday.
Just to back up for a second, Snider was apparently chosen because he has been a staunchly liberal voice on Twitter and supporter of LGBTQ people. Last month, Detroit radio station WCSX highlighted some of Snider's online commentary, in which he talked about putting his Twisted Sister makeup back on to protest various anti-drag bills going before state houses around the nation.
"The bullying minority is getting away with murder and it is time for the true majority to start pushing back…HARD!" Snider said.
I'm truly glad of that. I get a lot of respect from the LGBTQ community. Being a straight guy and getting in fights all the time for dressing up gave me a lot of insight into what others go through. I couldn't let them stop be from looking how I wanted to look...and I didn't. https://t.co/xhmIKo4GjN— Dee Snider🇺🇸🎤 (@deesnider) April 15, 2022
But on Sunday, he posted a reply to fellow aging rock star Paul Stanley — age 71 and one of the founding members of the band KISS — after Stanley posted a full paragraph of his thoughts on parents with trans or gender non-conforming kids.
"There is a BIG difference between teaching acceptance and normalizing and even encouraging participation in a lifestyle that confuses young children ... as though [it were] some sort of game and then parents in some cases allow it," Stanley wrote. He distinguished between kids and "adults [who] may decide reassignment is their needed choice," and he concluded that some parents "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."
Snider reposted Stanley's tweet saying, "You know what? There was a time where I 'felt pretty' too. Glad my parents didn't jump to any rash conclusions! Well said [Paul]."
This has had LGBTQ people and allies in an uproar on Twitter ever since, and Snider has been doing a lot of replying and defending himself. But SF Pride says they can no longer have him at the San Francisco event.
"When we were notified about the tweet … we were heartbroken and angry,” says Suzanne Ford, executive director of SF Pride, speaking to the Chronicle. "The message perpetuated by that tweet casts doubt on young trans people’s ability to self-identify their gender."
Ford, who is herself trans, added, “With transphobia proliferating and becoming more and more enshrined in law throughout the country — we have to stand up for the most impacted among us."
This seems to be an example of an old person not understanding that something they said or did was transphobic. Fans on Twitter are castigating Snider for falling prey to narratives being spun by the right wing, to which Snider replied Monday, "Parents need to be less reactionary; Right and Left. No need to steer the child in either direction. Let the kid figure it out for themselves knowing their family is supportive. I had a vet/cop hardass dad who, while he shook his head A LOT... let me do my thing."
In an interview with the Windy City Times a few years back, Snider clarified that he doesn't consider himself to be liberal or conservative, and while he is "super pro-gay rights" and pro-choice, he is also a supporter of the Second Amendment and he fights against "censorship."
"I try to do what is right and judge each situation individually on party lines," Snider said. "I am both hailed and reviled by the conservatives and the liberals."
Snider hinted on Twitter that some big announcement was coming that would change people's minds about his controversial tweet. But it sounds like the SF Pride board's mind is made up, and we won't be seeing him here in June — and no one under 45 is going to care.
Top image: singer Dee Snider of Twisted Sister attends the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Extravaganza at the Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas Strip on January 27, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)