On July 10, 2017, American actor James Woods posted a tweet criticizing the image of a young boy holding a rainbow flag at an Orange County Pride event alongside his supportive parents; they held signs reading “I ♥ My Gender Creative Son” and “My Son Wears Dresses & Makeup … Get Over It!”
Woods tweet in response read, “This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage.”
Even though his tweet received 11,531 retweets and 28,803 likes, openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris did not like Woods’ tweet.
This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you've done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage pic.twitter.com/1k3ITApFsF
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 10, 2017
In fact, Harris responded to Woods’ tweet with a tweet of his own stating, “Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods. I’m friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself.”
Harris’ tweet received 18,129 retweets and 82,024 likes — that’s 57% more retweets and 184% more likes that Woods tweet got.
Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods. I'm friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself. https://t.co/ZrbtZH49sp
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) July 11, 2017
Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea retweeted Harris’ tweet and the Human Rights Campaign responded, “Thank you @ActuallyNPH for taking a stand against this vulgar & hateful statement. All children should be accepted & loved for who they are.”
As one commenter said, it’s far more likely that the child in the photo would end up mentally unwell if his parents rejected his gender expression. The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 41% of transgender and gender nonconforming people in the United States had attempted suicide (compared to a national average of 4.6%). These rates are increased by parental rejection and social stigma similar to Woods comparing gender nonconforming children to serial killers (a trope that has long been repeated in horror films like Psycho, Dressed to Kill and Silence of the Lambs).
Although Woods has gained a reputation for posting politically conservative and queerphobic tweets, heNeilNeil didn’t always used to be like this.
In 2015, he actually starred in a public service announcement about LGBTQ youth homelessness for the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Appearing alongside Elton John, Jamie Foxx, Lisa Ling, David Furnish and Lisa VanDerPump, he appealed to viewers to support LGBTQ youth stating, “We’ve got you.”