This past weekend, outspoken comedian Rosanne Barr found herself a target of derision from some in the transgender community. Roseanne, a very active user of Twitter, posted a series of messages regarding transgender women, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, and the case of a transgender woman using a sauna.
Roseanne, who says she's running for President, complained that Jill Stein had refused to accept her debate invitation. Another twitter user, ATagonist (Ann Tagonist), replied that:
"Jill is also in favour of letting men into spaces where young girls get changed."
Roseanne then stunned some of her followers when she continued the conversation with these comments:
"if she has a penis, she is not allowed in."
"women do not want your penises forced in their faces or in our private bathrooms. respect that FACT."
A pile-on of criticism followed from supporters of the transgender community. Roseanne's replies seemed to muddy the contentious issue of gender identity and facility access with more tweets like these:
"transgender folks should have their own safe bathrooms-they should not be FORCED into bathrooms with young girls who hate them there.
"my point was this: if a transgendered person is an asshole or predator, it's just as bad as if a straight person is an asshole or a predator
"the fact is: bathrooms are where a lot of male on male violence and sexual assault happen-
"I'm afraid that the most vile & woman hating comments by trans directed at me here is going to turn people off to the entire GLBT community-"
Roseanne blogged about her latest controversy on Sunday. She apologized for some of her "angry and offensive" reactions, then added that she was shocked by the amount of "sexist words" directed at her by "quite a few Transwomen." She issued a challenge to the gay and trans communities to tackle their alleged misogyny.
In part of her post, Roseanne seemed to refer to a news report about Colleen Francis, an Olympia, WA transgender woman who was told to leave a women's lockeroom sauna at Evergreen State College. Roseanne seemed to say two teenage girls were right to feel uncomfortable with Francis being allowed to use the women's facilities. However, Roseanne insisted that she remains "supportive of Transwomen and Transmen" with regards to health care access.
Her fiery explanation may have lost some of its cohesion when she referenced a '70s-era pedophile group, racism and Nazi tactics:
"At one time in my life, 1978, I along with other women confronted the GL groups over their decision to include the group Nambla in their platform, and after we registered our disgust, they took a fair look at the facts, and were progressive enough to understand that their inclusion of that group would not be politically advantageous to their struggle. I feel that misogyny within their own ranks needs to be dealt with and called out now too-when they are depending on women’s support for ALL GLBTQ issues, including marriage equality....
"I RT this ONE LINK about ONE PERSON-it was NOT a blanket condemnation of ALL trans or ALL anything-it was about how intersectionality occurs. The subsequent onslaught of virulent nazi like misogynism directed at me was NOT deserved. MY POINT IS:-I’m compiling the VICIOUS and degrading tweets sent to me by TRANS (men transitioning to women)and their reactionary henchpeople. The level of their misogyny is akin to racist fascism from the nazi’s in 1930′s pre war berlin-The GLBTQ community needs to confront this and challenge it."