PAUL STANLEY On 'LGBTQ+ Pride Month': 'Everybody Has A Right To Be Who They Are'

June 3, 2023

Earlier this week, TMZ caught up with KISS frontman Paul Stanley in the Beverly Glen neighborhood of Los Angeles, California and asked him about governor Gavin Newsom's proclamation declaring June 2023 as "LGBTQ+ Pride Month" in the State of California. This month — and every month — California stands with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community as they take pride in who they are and whom they love.

Paul said: "Everybody has a right to be who they are. Life's too short to be anyone else… Everybody should celebrate who they are. Be proud of who you are as long as it's something worth being proud of… What's the criteria for being proud is being a good person, not transgender or any other gender."

In late April, Stanley came under fire for sharing what some people characterized as "misinformation" about gender-affirming care for youths, saying that "irreversible" procedures shouldn't be performed on children. "There is a BIG difference between teaching acceptance and normalizing and even encouraging participation in a lifestyle that confuses young children into questioning their sexual identification," Stanley wrote.

He added that adults "may decide reassignment is their needed choice," but said that children should not be eligible for gender-affirming surgeries and procedures. "Turning this into a game or parents normalizing it as some sort of natural alternative or believing that because a little boy likes to play dress up in his sister's clothes or a girl in her brother's, we should lead them steps further down a path that's far from the innocence of what they are doing," he wrote.

Closing his statement, Stanley claimed that too many parents were confusing "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."

A few other rock musicians publicly supported Stanley's comments, including TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider, who tweeted: "You know what? There was a time where I 'felt pretty' too. Glad my parents didn't jump to any rash conclusions!" Phil Labonte, lead vocalist of the metal band ALL THAT REMAINS, tweeted, "Paul is right." And pro wrestler Chris Jericho — who fronts FOZZY — retweeted Stanley's statement without additional comment, to his 3.5 million followers.

Some pointed out that KISS, which was co-founded by Stanley in 1973, was pioneering in breaking down the taboos surrounding men wearing makeup and feminine clothing.

THE OFFSPRING guitarist Noodles, whose real name is Kevin Wasserman, wrote on Twitter: "This is a very disappointing take, especially from someone who wore high-heels, makeup, & teased up hair his whole career. As a young kid your band helped teach me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I guess it was just gimmickry after all."

In a follow-up statement on May 4, Stanley walked back his previous statement, saying: "I support those struggling with their sexual identity while enduring constant hostility and those whose path leads them to reassignment surgery. It's hard to fathom the kind of conviction that one must feel to take those steps."

Closing his latest statement, Stanley opted not to clarify his original comments, insisting that social media may not be the best place for genuine discourse. "A paragraph or two will remain far too short to fully convey my thoughts or point of view, so I will leave that for another time and place," he wrote.

In April, outspoken conservative rocker Ted Nugent shared a tweet in which he denounced the existence of transgender people and told people they could "debate" him if they disagreed.

"There is no such thing as transgender. You cannot change your gender. Comfortably numb is actually uncomfortably dumb. Debate me but bring your bib," he wrote.

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