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Janelle Monáe: We must do better for our trans siblings

Vic Parsons June 26, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Janelle Monae attend The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

The Grammy-nominated American singer Janelle Monáe says that queer and transgender people of colour must be empowered and supported by the rest of the LGBT+ community.

In an interview with Paper Magazine, Monáe said, “In the same way we want white folks to support us and be better allies and use their privilege to make change in those power dynamics, it’s up to us to protect those who may not be as privileged.”

The “Dirty Computer” singer, who featured Mj Rodriguez – the trans Pose actress – in her performance of Americans on The Late Late Show with Stephen Colbert, said, “I look to Indya Moore, Mj Rodriquez, Janet Mock (my Pose family)… Laverne Cox, those women are putting themselves and their lives on the frontline everyday.”

“When their trans sisters and brothers get murdered, they feel it. We have to support them… It’s just a responsibility I feel. I could do better. I’ll do better.”

Monáe attended her first Pride parade in New Orleans this month.

The singer dedicated her two Dirty Computer Grammy nominations in 2018 to her “trans brothers and sisters.” She came out as pansexual in a Rolling Stone interview just before releasing the album.

Monáe at BET Awards.
Monáe came out as bisexual last year. (Leon Bennett/Getty)

“I’m just happy that my personal story has also been personal stories for so many other people,” Monáe told Paper Magazine.

“There’s so many young people who grew up in the South or Baptist families, who were told that they won’t be accepted by Christ. They can listen to this album and feel hugged. They can feel loved. They can feel seen. They can feel heard. That’s the most beautiful thing.”

She also talked about realising that she was queer at the age of eight.

“I don’t think I actually knew how I identified. I knew that I was attracted to women, girls, men, boys. I knew that,” she said.

Monáe also talked about not pressuring younger LGBT+ people to come out.

“Everybody doesn’t have the same set of circumstances,” she said.

“There are people, young people in particular, that will be cut off from their family, hanged or jailed if they walked in their truth.

“Folks who are not comfortable speaking out about your sexuality publicly, we see you and you are valid and you matter. We have to protect our babies, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community. We have to do better. “

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