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When allegations that #MeToo advocate Asia Argento had had sex with an underage costar, eyes darted from her to Rose McGowan, Argento's fellow advocate, and to McGowan's partner, Rain Dove, who turned the Italian actress over to the police.
"I think it's good," McGowan tells The Advocate about the revelation of the charge against Argento. "I think it's furthered the conversation that boys and men get hurt too. It's not good for the participants, certainly not, but as for the greater good of it, the silver lining is that it's really forced people to look at men being hurt too."
Dove, a nonbinary model who is "OK with he/she/it/they" pronouns, sits beside McGowan during her Skype interview with The Advocate.
\u201cNo matter what the day brings it\u2019s always better ending it with You @rosemcgowan . Thanks for anchoring me in the waves. I can\u2019t think of a better way to end the day- I also can\u2019t think of a way to stop grinning tonight haha. I choose You. #lovewins #BringItOnOcean\u201d— Rain Dove (@Rain Dove) 1537293385
"I worked really hard to retrain myself to see people as people and not as he or she," Dove tells The Advocate. "Asia deserves for the truth to be on the table."
Once a close friend to Argento, Dove received text messages in which the former claimed to have had sex with Jimmy Bennett, an actor who was underage at the time. Argento also wrote that she had received sexts from Bennett and never told him to stop sending nude images her way. Bennett has received a $380,000 settlement from Argento.
"Someone told me that they had committed a crime and had sexually engaged with someone who was underage, and yet at the same time they told me that their intent was not to be honest about that and if they could, they would sink the career of an innocent journalist who had done the story appropriately," says Dove. "All I did was I provided that information to the police."
McGowan stands by that choice and says it was made "at an ugly cost and a human cost, but I think in the end it will be perceived as just a furtherance of conversation."
Dove explains, "This Asia Argento thing cost me a lot and it took a lot of time out of my life. It took a lot of opportunities away. I'm now in the tabloids; my name has been dragged. I have very vulnerable youth that are like. 'I'm scared to go on your page 'cause I really like supporting you, but I see a lot of hate comments and that's triggering for me.'"
Dove says they are concerned more with their young fans and followers than with Argento's reputation. The accused has publicly stated that she will sue Dove and McGowan for libel unless they retract their statements, which neither of them have.
"I don't know the full story between Jimmy and Asia. I don't!" Dove says. "I wasn't there, I don't know, but all I know is that one person, regardless of if, they were the face of the #MeToo movement or not, they were not going to be honest about sexually engaging with a minor, and that is that."
In Dove's first statement on their involvement in the controversy, which was released on Twitter, they refrained from referring to Argento as "her" or "she." "I did use that language because when I originally met Asia one thing that we shared in common was just the identity of just being like alien creatures and alien beings," explains Dove.
McGowan, who lovingly refers to Dove as "the creature I'm dating," is acutely aware that the #MeToo movement has been branded as a "women's issue."
"I don't like that the icon on Twitter is pink. I think that's really weird. I don't know who did that, but maybe Twitter did it, but I think it's kinda creepy and that's not inclusive," McGowan says. "I get a lot of boys and men messaging me #MeToo."
But McGowan has also been the target of a lot of hate. After an incident during her book tour that spurred transphobia accusations, the activist was carefully excluded from the Time's Up movement. Now she paints the initiative, which has drawn the star power of Natalie Portman, Lena Waithe, America Ferrera, and Reese Witherspoon, as a sham.
"Time's Up was formed by [Creative Artists Agency], and it was formed in response to me calling them human traffickers, which they are," she says. CAA, a top Hollywood talent agency, was singled out in the 2017 New York Timesexpose as employing talent agents told that Harvey Weinstein had preyed on their clients yet still sent women into private meetings with him. "Their complicity is so huge," McGowan continues. "They formed Time's Up immediately to cast a veneer on what they do."
"I don't want to belong to any organization that supports it and thinks of activism as black dresses. Which felt like black dresses dancing on a rape grave, to tell you the truth," asserts McGowan, referring to a protest in which actresses collectively wore black gowns to the 2017 Golden Globes. "Do I think Hollywood can self-police? No more than the police can self-police."
Instead, McGowan, who herself doesn't identify as straight, is focusing on repairing her image in the eyes of LGBTQ people.
"I really want to bring her back into the queer community," Dove says.
In many ways, the Brave author has been in exile since news of an argument with trans woman Andi Dier at a New York City Barnes & Noble in February spread like wildfire.
"Harvey Weinstein hired someone who was a real trans woman, but a fake protester, to verbally assault me and it became this verbal altercation. He hired someone to jump me at my book signing, at my first book signing as an author," claims McGowan, noting that before she left Barnes & Noble, the transcript of the altercation was up on HuffPost. "What [Weinstein] did was look at where my biggest support was coming from, and that was the queer community. and he set it up destroying that." (This claim, by the way, has not been proven.)
"The protester said, 'What have you done for trans women in prison?' and I was thinking, What? I should've said, 'What have you done for bus drivers in Kuala Lumpur? What are you talking about?' I'm at a book reading for my book that is about mind-expanding consciousness with a story about my rape in here. What the fuck are you talking about? So I said, 'What have you done for women?' encompassing every kind of woman under the sun," McGowan remembers. "When I said, 'What have you done for women' I didn't isolate, I didn't think of like, cis white women; I'm thinking of every fucking person on the planet."
"Rose has never been anti-queer and anti-LGBTQ and especially not anti-trans," adds Dove. "I get a lot of flak for being with this amazing person because a lot of people think that they're transphobic. A lot of people think I'm trans, or they also know me as trans advocate because I do experience transphobia."
McGowan says her outburst was due partly to the trauma she was facing. "I'd done interview after interview that week where all they asked me about was my hotel room rape," she says. "It was wildly triggering and traumatic, and I was so raw and being literally attacked by a person, it turned out right away, it came out that this person, Andi Dier, had allegedly molested over 10 13-year-old girls."
After the incident, several women took to Twitter to accuse Dier of sexually harassing and assaulting them when they were underage, calling her a "sexual predator." (Dier has said she was never involved in nonconsensual sex.)
\u201c@gracefulbooty Andi dier is a foul human being who used to harrass me and 90% of my friends at the age of about 13 y/o\u201d— Sugar&Spice (@Sugar&Spice) 1517683325
"Nobody in the queer community seemed to care about that," McGowan says. She also brings up her history with the trans community in hopes that LGBTQ people will see the full picture.
"I was someone who volunteers at the Covenant House, working with homeless trans runaways because I was a runaway when I was 13, taken in by three trans women and a stripper named Tina. That was my community, that is my community. But [that Harvey Weinstein] wanted me to be hated; he set about making everybody hate me," she says, noting how the disgraced Hollywood mogul actually hired former Israeli intelligence agents to silence and harass her. "To have people think ill of me for something that never was, never was ... they're doing the work of a rapist."