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TRANSCRIPTS: R.L Stine Writes About Sex and Gender Issues

R.L Stine Writes about His Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues

Warning: This piece contains spooky, ghoulish & terrifying opinions. Read at your own risk!

This isn’t an easy piece to write, for my typewriter is currently possessed by the fiendish, mischievous spirit of a deceased Leprechaun, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity (unlike the character of my 1994 bestselling book "Attack Of The Mutant!).

My interest in trans issues has gone back as long as 1994, when I first wrote "Why I'm Afraid Of Bees", a body-swapping nightmare about a boy who trans-forms into a bee! Although never stated at the time, this should be read as an allegory for transgenderism, and the dangers of toying with Mother-Nature. In my extensive research for the book, I met trans people, and read sundry books, blogs and articles by trans people, gender specialists, intersex people, psychologists, safeguarding experts, social workers, doctors, Insectologists, honey manufacturers, bee-keepers, bee-losers & bees themselves.

Recently, my research has become even more intense & professional, because I'm writing a new ghoulish tome about a shape-shifting, gender-ambiguous ladies room toilet, who has large sharp teeth & eats children. Tammy, a 15 year old girl who's just moved to town must try and defeat this lavatory dwelling demon (who is also a werewolf, by the way).

All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered when I innocently retweeted a blog entry I was reading titled "Are Trans Women Actually Child Molesting Murdering Monsters?" and this was taken as a demonstration of my support! Yes, I was subscribed to the blog. Yes, I had liked the post. Yes, I had also accidentally retweeted a private bank statement showing I had financially supported the blogger & offered to bring his theories on trans-werewolfism into the mainstream. I was subsequently "hounded" for wrong-think. But I only supported that blog because it's easier than bookmarking tabs (who knows how to do that?) Also, I forgot to mention, but my laptop is currently possessed by the fiendish, mischievous spirit of a deceased Yeti.

In the aftermath of my cancellation, I received many positive & supportive letters & digi-letters from a huge cross section of biologists, gay men, lesbians, Cryptozoologist & self-loathing trans people, who are all deeply concerned about the erosion of women's and girl's rights. Above all, they're worried about the climate of fear that serves nobody - least of all me - because I should be the only one dictating what's scary and what isn't. I know what's scary - like Snowmen, or Lawn-Gnomes.

Children are transitioning at an astonishing rate these days, and I know this is true because I read it on a Burger King toilet cubicle door (the true news source of the proletariat). I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like had I been offered the chance to transition as a child. When I was 7, I was convinced I was Count Dracula, and would flap my arms up and down, and bite the necks of my schoolmates. As I didn't have any realistic possibility of becoming a Dracula back in the 1940s, it had to be horror films that got me through my mental health issues. I think if I'd have been offered to be bitten by an un-dead creature of the night, and live for all eternity feasting on the blood of virgins, I'd have jumped at the chance! These things are a slippery slope, and a near-future where children are given operations to sharpen their teeth, and hormones to speed up hair-loss & develop a widow's peak, doesn't seem unlikely to me! (Note To My Editor: Actually Stephen, that's a great idea for a teen novel - please redact it from open letter).

Let me be clear though, I believe the majority of trans-identified people pose no risk to others. Like the Loch Ness Monster, or BigFoot - trans people need and deserve protection. All I'm saying is, even if it was completely harmless - you wouldn't want a Loch Ness Monster in your daughters school changing room, would you? (Note To My Editor: Another great idea there Stephen, please redact. What do you think of the possible title: "Nessie Ruins Netball"??)

The last thing I want to say is this - I know this is a deeply complicated & nuanced issue, and I hope I have sufficiently managed to bring a fresh, educated & expert point of view to it. As a children's author, I feel it is absolutely my responsibility to weigh in.

I understand that all people have complex lives, and I never forget that inner complexity when I’m creating a fictional character - be it a haunted dummy, a bewitched bookshelf or a satanic jellyfish, and I certainly never forget it when it comes to trans people.

All I’m asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of children’s authors whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without it affecting their social cache or book sales. Not that it matters, I'm disgustingly rich!

If I have one hope, it's that this open letter will give other children’s authors the courage to come out and give their opinions on similarly complicated issues. I know that David Walliams has an interesting take on the Israel vs Palestine debate - and I am currently helping the ghost of Roger Hargreaves draft an open statement through Ouija Board about the ethics of abortion (although it's taking a while).

{Piece not actually written by R.L Stine, obviously. I didn't even realise he was a real guy and not a ghostwritten pen-name until just now.}


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