Name Calling

Trans Activist Who Confronted Rose McGowan Would Do It Again, 'But Better'

After video of the shouting match between trans activist Andi Dier and Rose McGowan at a Manhattan book store went viral, Dier says that she thinks McGowan is transphobic.

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/ The Daily Beast

Rose McGowan, who first went public with accusations against Harvey Weinstein and whose campaigning became the focus of the #MeToo movement, tweeted Friday she is canceling all future engagements following a contentious confrontation with a transgender activist in New York City.

Andi Dier made headlines challenging McGowan about transphobia and feminism Wednesday. She told The Daily Beast if given the chance, she’d confront the actress all over again, “but do it better.”

Video of the shouting match between Dier and McGowan at a Manhattan Barnes & Noble went viral, showing the women trading invectives with each other.

And on Friday, McGowan turned her ire to her publicists, management and even the audience at that event in another tweet, blaming them for “complicity.”

“Trans women are dying and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women,” Dier shouted from the back of the room, Wednesday night, to McGowan who was seated on a small stage. “We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks from here. I have been followed home.”

“Hold on,” McGowan interrupted. “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,” McGowan said.

But Dier wasn’t done. “You do nothing for them,” she said. “Trans women are in men’s prisons. And what have you done for them?” she asked.

“What have you done for women?” McGowan said, and shouted at Dier to sit down.

Within seconds, security officers told Dier to leave and misgendered by calling her “sir,” then dragged her from the audience as she shouted, “White cis feminism!”  

After Dier was taken away, McGowan broke down and flew into a rage as she defended herself and bared her feelings about being attacked publicly.

“Don’t label me, sister,” McGowan shouted at Dier. Don’t put your labels on me. Don’t you f—ing do that. Do not put your labels on me. I don’t come from your planet. Leave me alone. I do not subscribe to your rules. I do not subscribe to your language. You will not put labels on me or anybody. Step the f— back. What I do for the f—ing world and you should be f—ing grateful. Shut the f— up. Get off my back. What have you done? I know what I’ve done, God dammit.”

Her rant grew more intense despite efforts by members of the audience to show her support.

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“I’m not crying, I’m f—ing mad with the lies. I’m mad that you put s— on me because I have a f—ing vagina and I’m white or I’m black or I’m yellow or I’m purple. F— off. All of us want to say it. I just do.”

“And you can label this thing as a breakdown. That, motherf—ers, is a breakdown. Maybe not for me, but for you. I might have information you want. I might know s— that you don’t. So f—ing shut up. Please systemically. For once. In the world. You know what I’m talking about. Just tell the God damned truth. Stop boxing everybody into s—. I didn’t agree to your cis f—ing world. Ok? F— off.”

Dier told the Daily Beast that she did have sympathy and compassion for McGowan’s breakdown, but believes the essential reason her words triggered the actress and author was her own transphobia.

“Her trauma was caused by men,” Dier said. “And I feel personally that maybe she has a traumatic response because she really does see us as men.”

So what would Dier, who — like McGowan — is a survivor of sexual abuse, have done differently?

“What I would have liked to have said to her, when she told me she was followed home, I would have told her that when she’s followed home, what she’s afraid of is being sexually assaulted. Well, I’m afraid of being sexually assaulted followed by being murdered.”

“I’m fully prepared for the TERFs [so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists] to come after me like they’ve already done before,” Dier added.

In response to a question posed by this reporter about the confrontation, McGowan tweeted that “I did my best.”

When Dier stood up during McGowan’s talk, she asked the actress and author to explain comments she made on RuPaul’s “What’s The Tee?” podcast in July, that Dier and others have labeled transphobic.

"They assume because they felt like a woman on the inside. That's not developing as a woman. That's not growing as a woman, that's not living in this world as a woman and a lot of the stuff I hear trans complaining about, yeah, ‘Welcome to the world.’"

Actress Alexandra Grey told The Daily Beast she is one of those who took offense at McGowan’s comment.

“I am a black trans woman of color and now an actress in the public eye, so I was very much offended by Ms. McGowan’s comments on [Ru Paul’s podcast],” said Grey. I think people just need to learn to watch what they say. It’s not necessary to say… ‘welcome to the world.’ We are in no way asking to be put on a pedestal; in fact we would prefer if people with an opinion just keep their mouths closed. Because they know nothing about what it's like to be us.”

McGowan told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show Thursday that she was convinced Dier wasn’t there as a transgender woman, but as a “plant,” claiming Harvey Weinstein and his defenders hired Dier to attack her.

“I know it was a plant because people saw that [person] being handed off,” she said. “Somebody came in to harass me, and scream, and the other person was filming [gestures to show someone with a camera on their shoulder]. It was targeted and orchestrated, a Russian bot thing, they are basically after me.”

“No,” said Dier, denying she was a plant, after a long laugh. “I’m not powerful enough to know someone like Weinstein. I live in a closet in East New York.”

“Also, fuck that rapist,” she added. (Weinstein has denied the many allegations of sexual assault made against him, some currently the subject of police investigations in the U.S. and Britain, claiming there is a "wealth of evidence" to prove their "patent falsity.")

"Rose McGowan is clearly suffering after having long endured the kind of trauma I wouldn't wish on anyone,” said transgender actress, writer, producer and activist Jen Richards, who voiced a concern that the confrontation is being used as just more sensational fodder instead of sincere efforts to heal divisions.

“The media's fixation with her in particular does not seem motivated by a serious concern for the issue of systemic gender inequality and sexual harassment, much less the relationship of trans issues to intersectional feminism, but rather yet another instance of a preference for distracting spectacle. As with all women who have suffered at the hands of misogyny, I hope she finds healing and peace.”

While Dier has found a wealth of online support from the transgender community for confronting McGowan, not everyone is so positive.

“I was so upset by this,” YouTube personality and transgender advocate Maia Monet told The Daily Beast. “I can't see this as a win for us. She makes us look like asshole bullies. The general public is going to read it and go ‘that trans person was an asshole for making Rose cry. Can't they see she's been abused and is fighting for women?’

"I think Rose is a supporter that is just a bit ignorant of a few things. Attacking her for her blind spots is how your turn a potential powerful ally into an enemy. You take a wounded animal and back it into a corner, the results aren't going to be pretty.”

“I do believe the entire exchange could have happened in a more loving and compassionate way,” said Grey. “This was a moment for two women from different backgrounds to have a teaching moment. I think Andi had an opportunity there to truly ask and confront Rose, but the approach, to me, came off very hostile.

"I understand the passion and hurt. So let's have a discussion and figure out how we can all come together to stop the abuse, the murder, etc. Let's not make statements that are offensive of each other. Let's celebrate each other and uplift."