Rose McGowan‘s book signing for her new memoir Brave, ended in a heated yelling match with a trans woman in the audience.
According to Variety, during the question and answer portion where McGowan was answering pre-submitted questions, a woman “shot up from her seat” to question McGowan about her comments on trans women.
“I have a suggestion. Talk about what you said on RuPaul. Trans women are dying and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women,” she said. “We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks away. I have been followed home –” she said before McGowan interjected.
Rose McGowan has meltdown on stage at Barnes & Nobles book signing after trans heckler yells that she hasn't done anything for trans women who are victims of sexual assault. pic.twitter.com/fTRafCUNcL
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 2, 2018
“Hold on. So am I. We are the same. My point was, we are the same. There’s an entire show called ID channel, a network, dedicated to women getting abused, murdered, sexualized, violated, and you’re a part of that, too, sister. It’s the same,” McGown said.
The RuPaul interview the audience member was referring to happened on RuPaul’s podcast “What’s The Tee?” McGowan was a guest on the show in July 2017 and during the podcast, she made transphobic remarks.
The woman asked what McGowan has even done for trans women. Then McGowan stands up and angrily tells her to “Sit down!” “Enough!” and to “Shut up, you’re so boring,” while making a gesture that is in line with giving the middle finger.
While the woman is being escorted from the signing she calls McGowan’s feminism “white cis feminism.” White cis feminism is feminism that refuses to acknowledge that Asain women, black women, poor women, trans women, LGBT+ women and any other disenfranchised group of people have different experiences than white cis women. Not recognizing these different experiences is not intersectional and it’s not inclusive.
McGowan gets upset over that label and tells the woman, “I do not come from your planet, leave me alone. I do not subscribe to your rules. I do not subscribe to your language. you do not put labels on me or anybody. Step the f–k back. What I do is for the f–ing world and you should be f–ing grateful. Shut the f–k up.”
McGowan continued to try and clarify her trans statement.
Trans women are women and what I’ve been trying to say is that it’s the same. The stats are not that dissimilar. When you break it down, it is a much smaller population. There’s not a network here devoted to your f—ing death. There’s not advertisers advertising tampons with a camera lovingly going up a girl’s body as she’s being lovingly raped and strangled. Piss off. And until you can collect that f—ing check, back up. My name is Rose McGowan and I am obviously f—ing brave.
There are lots of things wrong with McGowan’s response. For starters saying that she doesn’t come from the same planet as a trans woman is problematic because she’s saying that trans women aren’t people, they’re aliens.
McGowan wanting trans women to be grateful for her activism is problematic because activism isn’t about accolades. No one should thank someone for recognizing they deserve equal rights.
Her comment about tampons and saying that trans women don’t have to deal with “advertisers advertising tampons with a camera lovingly going up a girl’s body” is problematic because it reinforces the idea that gender is biological. It also discredits what she said earlier that trans women and cis women have the same experiences.
Break down my ass, just sick of labels and stupidity.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) February 2, 2018
But the most problematic thing to come from her outburst is her naïve ideology that labels aren’t important when talking about sexual violence.
The truth of the matter is that trans people experience more violence than any other demographic. That doesn’t mean that abuse doesn’t take place in other communities, it just means that the trans community faces it more often. Trans women of color experience sexual violence more so than white trans women.
According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, in 2013 72% of all homicides rooted in hate violence were against trans women. Trans people of color were six times more likely to experience police violence. And trans women were 1.8 times more likely to experience sexual violence.
If your feminism isn't trans-inclusive, your feminism is garbage. Fuck Rose McGowan's bullshit white feminism. https://t.co/PgRlLshDp3
— Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) February 2, 2018
The numbers haven’t gotten better since. The Human Rights Campaign reports that 2017 was the most deadly year for trans people with a high of 28 reported deaths. We are just a little over a month into 2018 and two trans people have already died from hate crimes.
When McGowan refused to acknowledge that trans women face different sexual violence then other communities she silenced the trans community and their experiences. She didn’t hear out the audience member, she immediately got defensive and upset with the white cis feminist label, which her response only further reinforced.