Bette Midler sparks backlash for using anti-trans language in a tweet about abortion rights


LGBTQ+ advocates ask Bette Midler to ‘do better’ following tweet that ‘demonises trans people’


The Hocus Pocus star and gay icon was met with outrage and disappointment from LGBTQ+ fans and famous folk alike for excluding trans and non-binary people in a post about abortion rights.


In the post in question, which is still up on her page, Midler not only excluded trans and non-binary people from the message, but adopted language often used by anti-trans and right-wing groups in political circles to incite fear and inaccuracies about some kind of ‘trans agenda’ out to erase cis women.


In a message to her 2.1million followers, Midler said: ‘WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name!

She then goes on to say, ‘They don’t call us “women” anymore; they call us “birthing people” or “menstruators”, and even “people with vaginas” – aggressions many LGBTQ+ people will be unpleasantly familiar with, having had the notion of gender-inclusive language (statistically an amazing thing) ridiculed so frequently in the media. 


Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the legislation that secures American’s, under federal protections, safe access to abortions, trans and non-binary people (safe to say, already not the most politically protected people in society) have had to endure being largely erased from the conversation.


The real consequence of that erasure is that trans and non-binary people can be denied essential information relating to their care, improper service signposting, and other factors vital to their safety.


Whereas inclusive language in healthcare helps keeps people safe by making services more accessible for all with shared experiences.


Writing for Independent, Eleanor Morgan said: “If I identify as part of a minority community, assumptions from healthcare providers about my personal characteristics may make me feel shamed, embarrassed or anxious. This creates an active health risk, if a problem is missed because I am afraid of asking for help again. I know LGBT+ people who have been afraid. As a lesbian with, shall we say, a “complex” gynecological history, I haven’t. But I have felt shame and disappointment.”


As one Bette Midler fan, who is trans, pointed out, “including trans men in the conversation about reproductive health does not harm women”

It’s not the first time fans have questioned Midler’s stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The actress was forced to make a public apology to Caitlyn Jenner in 2016 when, following the cancelation of Jenner’s reality series, I Am Cait, Midler shared a since-deleted tweet asking whether reality star would ‘go back to [Caitlyn’s deadname]’ and remarry ex-wife Kris Jenner.