Demi Lovato really wants you to know – unequivocally and undeniably – that trans rights are human rights
Demi Lovato has affirmed that “trans rights are human rights” and explained why she feels called to educate herself on trans issues.
The singer, who identifies as queer, took part in an Instagram Live chat with her friend Alok Vaid-Menon, a gender fluid artist and author who has penned a book intended to serve as a resource for helping young trans and non-binary people.
In the live stream, Lovato opened up about her own journey to educating herself about trans issues.
Demi Lovato explains how she educated herself about trans issues.
She said: “I think but the most important thing is awareness and education. Because if you’re not educated and you’re not aware, you don’t realise you’re doing anything wrong.
“There have been times in throughout the years where I’ve learned, ‘Oh, this is a derogatory term.’ That is not the word that you use to call someone.
“I learned a lot actually when Caitlyn Jenner did this interview on 20/20, and they went through the terms of what’s okay to say what’s not OK, and that piece did a lot for me, as someone who was already privately identifying as queer.
“Here I am, identifying as a part of the community, but I still didn’t know some of the terms that it’s not OK to say. I didn’t even know they were bad, and that was my ignorance of not being educated on it. Sometimes it takes someone like Caitlyn Jenner on that platform to spark a conversation to spark that awareness and education.”
The singer also spoke about her desire to be an ally to the Black community to the trans community.
She said: “Recently, I went through this thing where I realised I wasn’t being an ally as much as I could be to the Black community. And after Ahmed Aubrey was shot and killed, I just felt, I’m not doing enough. I realised it was because I was scared that I was going to say the wrong thing. I’m Hispanic, but I’m white passing, so, I was like, what is my responsibility as an ally?
“I learned that I have to put my fears aside and speak up for all of the people of colour that I love, all the people of colour that I don’t know, and the people that are being, treated poorly because of it and abused and killed.
“I think people need to do the same with the trans community.”
Lovato added: “People don’t want to talk about things that are uncomfortable talk about, which is why I held off kind of talking about issues that didn’t necessarily pertain to me for so long.
“I think especially heterosexual men are afraid to be allies to trans people and queer people, because of toxic masculinity. I think there there are things we need to get past, and to speak our minds, even when it’s uncomfortable for us who are speaking up.”
I thought I might be non-binary, singer reveals.
The singer also revealed that she questioned her own gender while reading Vaid-Menon’s book, Beyond the Gender Binary.
She said: “When I was reading your book there’s there’s a lot of it that I relate to.
“I’m not non binary, [but] that there are masculine parts of me and there are feminine parts of me… and it created a question in my head. As I thought about it more, I was like, ‘No, I’m, I identify as female and that’s OK.’ But it is my responsibility as a cis queer woman to be an ally for the people that aren’t as privileged as us, when they deal with [transphobia and abuse].”
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The singer also addressed her friendship with the non-binary singer Sam Smith, after the release of their song “I’m Ready”.
She said: “Sam means so much to me. We met years ago but we didn’t really like connect on a friendship level until we wrote and recorded the song together, and I knew in that moment that I gained a real genuine friend that is so much more than just another artist in history.
“I was like, wow, this is a really special friendship and I need to protect this and take care of it and water it like a plant.”
Trans and non-binary people have been ‘left behind’ by feminism and gay movement.
On the live-stream, Vaid-Menon told the singer: “You showing up for me and you showing up for trans and non binary youth right now is so powerful because so often people forget about us.
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“In feminism, they forget about us. They’re just talking about straight cis women. They’re not talking about LGBT+ and especially trans women and gender non conforming people. The gay movement, they forget about us, they’re not talking about trans people, and everyone just leaves us behind.
“And we really need more allies because it’s high school, but it’s the world. It’s everyone’s bullying at us. It’s everyone trying to throw laws at us, making memes about us. They’ll take photos of us and make jokes about us. They’ll demean our appearance. It’s it’s like it’s constant invalidation. And it’s just heartbreaking.”
Speaking about their friendship with the singer, Vaid-Menon said: “I had the opportunity to meet Demi, when she came to my show in Los Angeles, and it was just, it was love at first sight.
“Afterwards, we talked and we we figured out we’re both from Texas, and we just had a conversation right there about trauma and pain and art and being from Texas and emotion and there’s just so much warmth and love and compassion. And Demi at that point said, ‘I just want to learn everything I can and I want to educate myself about these issues.’ And that kind of willingness to learn is so important.”