Music

Rina Sawayama says ‘famous people advocating for being TERFs’ is ‘a really eye-opening moment’

Matilda Davies December 2, 2020
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Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama attends the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week February 2020. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty)

Rina Sawayama has condemned celebrities who have used their platform to speak poorly of trans people in 2020.

The pansexual musician told Sky News that she believes “LGBT+ rights in the UK are backtracking”.

“I think trans people have known this for so long, but just having so many famous people advocating for being TERFS… it’s been a really eye-opening moment,” she added.

“It kind of feels like it’s backtracking, especially with trans rights and LGBT education.”

Rina Sawayama has spoken to the Mercury Prize organisers about being snubbed.

Rina Sawayama spoke after she won the Breakthrough Awards at the Attitude Awards Tuesday (1 December).

“I believe it’s my first UK award, so it feels very special,” she said.

The British-Japanese singer released her debut album, Sawayama, in April.

Elton John hailed it “the strongest album of the year so far”, and fans hoped it would be shortlisted for the Mercury Prize in July.

They, like Sawayama, were disappointed to find out she isn’t considered “British enough” by organisers.

Sawayama was born in Japan but has lived in the UK since she was a child. However because she isn’t a citizen, instead having “indefinite leave to remain”, she does not qualify for the Mercury or the BRITs.

She told Vice at the time of the snub that not being eligible was “heartbreaking”.

“I rarely get upset to the level where I cry. And I cried,” she said.

“I feel like I’ve contributed to the UK in a way that I think is worthy of being celebrated, or at least being eligible to be celebrated.”

Sawayama has since spoken to the chairman of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which organises the Mercury Prize and the BRITs.

She told Sky News: “He was really apologetic. It’s kind of what I thought it was, just an oversight. They have their own processes of getting rules through, and they have assured me that they’re putting it through that process. So, fingers crossed.”

Sawayama came out as pansexual in August 2018.

“I’ve always written songs about girls, she told Vice. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a guy in my songs, and that’s why I wanted to talk about it.”

Related topics: Pansexual, Rina Sawayama, TERFs

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