So here’s the story of the Dee Snider SF Pride incident.
One night at a party Suzanne Ford, the Executive Director of SF Pride, and I were talking about what the message for Pride should be this year. With the relentless march of anti-transgender legislation and transphobia in the rise, how would Pride respond? As we kicked around ideas, Suzanne was very adamant the slogan should be “NO!” Simply NO! It needed to be short and powerful and very clear.
She took that idea to her PR team and together they came up with an brilliant concept: “No! We’re Not Gonna Take It!”, the Twisted Sister anthem would be an amazing rallying cry. Dee Snider is a famous liberal rock star, a champion of freedom and individuality, and is on record as an ally for LGBTQIA rights. He’d even told Trump not to use the song. Was it possible to get Dee to sign on to this? If so, it would generate a ton of free publicity to carry the message of fighting transphobia and anti-LGBTQIA hate. He could be our own Kid Rock!
Suzanne called Snider’s people and Snider loved the idea. He wanted to perform the song on the Main Stage at Pride—which is a big deal to have a cis heterosexual perform at the nation’s premier Pride event. A very big honor, really.
I was given a chance to design the t-shirts for the campaign. My first design, made with the assistance of AI, was too colorful and expensive to print. So we went with a very graphic two color design. Eventually the final design was a mix of mine and someone else’s (art direction by committee 🙄).
Everything was set to announce. A press conference would be held, CNN would be there, the Rolling Stone, it was gonna be great.
Then, just two days before the announcement, Dee tweeted about his opposition to gender affirming health care for trans children. 💔🙄🤬
Now, this has been called transphobic, and for a lot of us it is. Dee claims this is just a “moderate” position. He supports trans people, he just doesn’t agree with this. And of course it’s being used to score points against the “intolerant left”.
The thing is, this isn’t something to be negotiated. This is doctors following decade-long well-established medical protocols to best care for trans children and the state has no business policing what children and their parents know best. The trans community stands up for our most vulnerable members. Forcing trans kids to go through the wrong puberty is cruel and dangerous. End of story. Allies who don’t understand that are not being allies.
Short of a complete retraction and apology there was no way Pride could go forward with the campaign. Even then…this is San Francisco, it wasn’t gonna fly.
A long conversation was held between Dee and SF Pride, an educational discussion of the issue from a trans perspective. It seemed as if Dee got the message, but his public response was disappointing.
It’s a real shame. Video of a giant crowd of queer people screaming “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” would have been amazing to see.
This isn’t a fight about semantics or who is transphobic and who is not. This is a fight for people’s lives and happiness.