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"Everyone's gonna hate me, but..." Why people are talking about Macy Gray.

This post deals with transphobic comments and might be triggering for some readers.

American singer Macy Gray is facing criticism over the comments she shared about transgender people this week, particularly from trans women

Gray decided to appear on Piers Morgan's British talk show Piers Morgan Uncensored, which has amassed plenty of controversy in its own right since it started earlier this year. 

During the sit down interview, Gray and Morgan – who are both cisgender – decided to speak on trans issues, specifically suggesting that being a woman requires a person to be born with "boobs and a vagina", rather than surgically opting for them during transition. 

The conversation started with Morgan asking Gray what she believes defines womanhood. And when Morgan stated that he believes in "fairness and equality" for trans people outside of an elite sporting context, Gray agreed.

"The whole 'she, he, they', that's getting confusing," she said. "I will say this and everybody's going to hate me, but – as a woman – just because you go change your parts, doesn't make you a woman. Sorry. I know that for a fact. If you want me to call you a 'her', I will - cause that's what you want. But that doesn't make you a woman, just because I call you a 'her' and just because you got a surgery."

She went on to say that people can "call themselves whatever you want", but when it comes to biology, in her mind, it's up for debate. 

Watch some of the interview between Piers Morgan and Macy Gray. Post continues below.


Video via TalkTV and ET Canada.

Continuing with the trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) comments, she said: "Women go through completely unique experiences. And surgery or finding yourself doesn't change that. Being a little girl is a whole epic book, and you can't have that just because you want to be a woman."

When Morgan acknowledged that Gray might face some criticism for their discussion, she agreed, saying: "But it's the truth. I don't think you should be called transphobic just because you don't agree. There's a lot of judgement and throwing stones at people for just saying what it is."

Needless to say, the segment didn't go down very well with many. Gray's comments have been condemned by LGBTQIA+ advocates across the globe. 

As TransHub Australia noted recently: "Trans young people and adults face extraordinary health inequalities, largely due to the abhorrent stigma and discrimination they face. The value, validity and needs of trans people are not up for 'debate'. At this time, it is so important that we all stand alongside and affirm the trans people around us and across Australia. Their lives depend on it."

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In a statement to Billboard, Gray said her comments had been "grossly misunderstood". But as Rolling Stone titled an Op Ed: "Macy Gray Thinks People 'Misunderstood' Her Transphobic Comments. They Didn't."

Image: TalkTV.

In her statement she said: "I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ+ and transgender community and have been a supporter since day one. My statement on Piers Morgan was grossly misunderstood. I don't hate anyone. I respect everyone's right to feel comfortable in their bodies and live their own truth."

Gray isn't the first female celebrity to voice a similar belief. Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made her stance on transgender identity very clear.

In March 2018, Rowling 'liked' a tweet that described transgender women as "men in dresses". Rowling's reps backpedalled fast on that one.

"It was a mistake," they told NewsWeek. "I'm afraid J.K. Rowling had a clumsy and middle-aged moment."

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud: J.K Rowling, not again. Post continues after audio.


But the following year, Rowling also tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, a British woman who was fired from her job for tweeting anti-trans statements, including "men cannot change into women".

Then in 2020, Rowling retweeted an article to her 14.5 million followers titled, "Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate". 

"'People who menstruate,'" she wrote. "I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

Many Twitter users accused Rowling of transphobia, or at least harmful ignorance, and pointed out how her comment entirely erased the experience of so many people who have periods.

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Both Rowling and Gray's comments have left them being categorised as TERFs: trans-exclusionary radical feminists.

The acronym, which was coined by an Australian writer Viv Smyth in 2008, refers to a vocal group of feminists who argue that the only "real women" are those born with female sex organs and an XX chromosome. Trans women, in their view, couldn't possibly understand the female experience and shouldn't have access to female-designated spaces. It's a viewpoint which has been widely condemned, especially by trans community groups and advocates noting the harmful nature of TERF ideology.

And in the wake of Gray's segment with Morgan, Rowling has since vocalised her support for Gray.

Macy Gray today. Image: Getty.

In a tweet, Gray has since said "there is no bigger admirer of (the) LGBT community" than her. "It takes real balls to be honest about who you are."

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said that "recent anti-transgender rhetoric" from public figures is "contributing to the dangerous and completely inaccurate narrative that trans people are somehow threatening the overall rights of cisgender women."

She said to USA TODAY: "Women and trans people are in a common fight for bodily autonomy and the right to privacy. Cisgender women, trans people and nonbinary people must stand together against those who seek to divide us." 

As the CEO of Transgender Victoria Mama Alto wrote for Mamamia: "We continue to see discussions and 'debates' about minorities and marginalised identities which lose sight of the fact that words matter. Words can change and save lives, and words can do untold damage."

LGBTIQA+ community members experiencing distress can access QLife on 1800 184 527 or web chat https://www.qlife.org.au 3pm to midnight every day.

Feature Image: Getty.