Two household names in their respective fields have faced some criticism this week for making transphobic statements amid a rise of legal attacks against the transgender community in America.

Bette Midler was first lambasted when she tweeted critically about using gender-neutral language when discussing abortion rights issues. “They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people,’ or ‘menstruators’ … Don’t let them erase you!” Midler wrote in part.

Users expressed concern over the actress’s comments, some sharing that they are trans or non-binary and also able to get pregnant and appreciate the use of broader, more inclusive language in public statements.

Midler also resisted the backlash in a follow-up tweet the next day, saying “There was nothing exclusionary or transphobic in what I said.” Even if there was no malicious intent, the rise of “gender critical” voices couched in feminism can lead to people embracing transphobic ideas more openly. A great example is the rhetoric of recent tweets by J.K. Rowling, who has been very supportive of Midler’s statement.

Macy Gray, the R&B singer, also faced some anger from fans when she said “Just because you go change your parts, doesn’t make you a woman, sorry,” in an interview with Piers Morgan.

Gray later told Entertainment Tonight that her comment “was grossly misunderstood. I don’t hate anyone. I respect everyone’s right to feel comfortable in their own bodies and live their truth.” However, Gray has responded to critics more brusquely in other posts online. This tweet, which was interestingly shared by J.K. Rowling, shows Gray simply responding “truth hurts,” to someone’s comment.

She also tried to clarify her point in another tweet where she said, “there are plenty of females who aren’t women yet and every girl gets that,” but her dismissive language in the interview and in some comments online have not un-rung the bell for some fans of hers.

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