Garbage singer Shirley Manson says she identifies with the ‘idea of non-binary’

Maggie Baska September 30, 2021
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Shirley Manson of Garbage performs on stage at Alhambra Theatre

Shirley Manson of Garbage performs on stage at Alhambra Theatre on 17 July 2019 in Dunfermline, Scotland. (Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

Shirley Manson shared that she identifies with the “idea of non-binary” as she looks back on her history as the lead singer of Garbage.

Manson spoke to the Scotsman as the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of their third album, Beautiful Garbage. After two decades, the international rockstar shared that she has a new appreciation for the band’s hit single “Androgyny” which was featured on the 2001 album.

“Being a woman who has got a lot of male traits, I’ve always really identified with this idea of non-binary,” she told the Scotsman.

In the song, Manson sings about how people can “free your mind in your androgyny” and that “nothing in life is set in stone” so “there’s nothing that can’t be turned around”. She adds that there are “boys in the girl’s room” and “girls in the men’s room”.

Manson shared that the song meant a lot to her she “often quipped over the years” that she’s “definitely got bigger balls” than the other members of Garbage, who are cisgender men. As a result, she said she felt like she fell somewhere “within the spectrum of gender”.

“So the idea of identifying within the spectrum of gender has always made sense to me,” Manson said.

Manson also spoke to the Scotsman about sexism she encountered in the male-dominated rock industry. She described how she was “one of a few women in music that was very outspoken” when she “came out in the 90s”.

She said she welcomed the fact that “almost every single pop star and rock star is awake” and was thankful that younger artists will not have to deal with the “same kind of s**t that we all did” decades ago.

“They are speaking out, and they are unafraid to use their voice and their platform so I think that in itself is a change,” Manson said. “It’s exciting, and it can only continue.”

Shirley Manson of Garbage performs on stage at Iveagh Gardens
Shirley Manson of Garbage performs on stage at Iveagh Gardens on 18 July 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Kieran Frost/Redferns)

Shirley Manson has been an outspoken supporter of LGBT+ rights in the past.

At a 2017 concert in Toronto, the Scottish singer got “riled up” thinking about the then-president Donald Trump’s ban on trans people from openly serving in the military, Billboard reported.

She temporarily paused the concert after dedicating a song to “everyone in the military who is transgender, who put their lives on the line for all of us”.

“I felt passion overtake me and I suddenly realised that this is a song that we wrote a long, long time ago, long before gender fluidity and transgender, any of it was on all of our lips,” she told the crowd gathered at the concert.

“And I’m all riled up because it breaks my heart that in this day and age, things have gotten so mad that people who want to put their lives on the line for the American public are being treated with such disrespect.”

According to NME, the 20th anniversary remastered edition of Beautiful Garbage drops 1 October.

More: Garbage, non-binary, Shirley Manson

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