Dec 21, 2021 • 6M

I Don't Care What You Call Gingerbread Men

Please focus on more important things.

Charlotte Clymer
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Charlotte Clymer is a writer and LGBTQ advocate. You've probably seen her on Twitter (@cmclymer). This is the podcast version of her blog "Charlotte's Web Thoughts", which you can subscribe to here:
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(image credit: Getty // Tanja_G)

Look, do you really think I wanna be talking about this?

Deep down, in your heart of hearts, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum and how misaligned you believe that is with my own worldview, can we at least agree that I would rather not spend my time talking about the gender identity and presumed genitals of anthropomorphized holiday cookies?


On Thursday, Richard Grenell, Trump’s favorite conservative gay grifter, tweeted out a pic from a café of a gingerbread cookie that had been labeled “Gingerbread Person” in the display.

Although I have not yet confirmed it with the authorities, I am told that what the café did is legal.

Grenell, who has made a name for himself by constantly acting as a shield against the myriad critiques of the Republican Party’s stridently anti-LGBTQ platform (and rewarded with hollow senior appointments in the federal government by Trump), was attempting to imply that the rights and dignity of transgender and non-binary people are trivial.

By weaponizing the gender identity of a holiday cookie.

It feels not-impossible that we’re days away from social conservatives staging some kind of protest in which they draw little icing penises on gingerbread persons they’ve angrily purchased in bulk from the local queer-owned bakery.

I want to be clear about this: as a proud trans woman, I really don’t care what you call gingerbread men. If you want to call them “men” or “women” or “person” or “anthropomorphized baked good in the vague shape of human being”, I honestly just don’t care.

Grenell doesn’t give a shit, either. He didn’t take a pic of a gingerbread cookie out of moral outrage; he took it because he knows that drooling homophobes and transphobes everywhere look to him for constant reassurance that their anti-LGBTQ views are totally fine and rational.

Of course, because information on the trans and non-binary community in the public square is so scarce to begin with, I know that there’s not an insignificant chance that when many of you go home this week to celebrate with your families, some rabidly conservative uncle or cousin or brother-in-law will bring up Grenell’s tweet and say: “See? I told you they’re coming for us. It starts with cookies and ends in the Gulag.”

(Just a quick aside: the USSR, under Stalin, criminalized homosexual activity between men, so the mixing of the communist state references with queer advocacy is so very well thought-out.)

Friends, I’m pretty exhausted. It’s easy to be tired these days, but on top of everything else—COVID, voting rights, climate change, the growing chasm between the richest and poorest in our country—the fact that trans and non-binary people also have to educate the public on the basics of gender identity (and why it doesn’t take much effort to treat us with respect and dignity and kindness) is a theft of joy.

That’s how it feels when this shit pops up. It feels like someone is attempting to steal what little joy and happiness is present in our community by propping up these ridiculous straw men (or “straw person”, if you wish) instead of, you know, engaging us in good faith on what really matters: our human rights.

I don’t know any trans person or ally who cares about the gender identity of their gingerbread cookie. I don’t know any feminist who would claim that labeling them “gingerbread men” is perpetuating the patriarchy.

As usual, with rabid social conservatives, the reality doesn’t matter. All that matters is setting up a “culture war” that is impossible for either side to win.

You remember last month when I wrote about how if Democrats simply refused to engage with the GOP on so-called current “culture wars”, Republicans would simply find something to weaponize, even if they had to make it up?

This is a great example of that. Nothing is sacred. The only limit to what can be scandalized by conservative grifters—and the Republican Party generally—is their imagination.

Call gingerbread cookies whatever the hell you want, and please leave trans and non-binary folks out of it.

Hi, I’m Charlotte Clymer, and this is Charlotte’s Web Thoughts, my Substack. It’s completely free to access and read, but if you feel so moved to support my writing, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription: just $7/month or save money with the $70/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Founding Member at $210.