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Here's Why Ne-Yo's Insensitive 'Opinion' on Gender & Parents with Transgender Children is a Problem

Entertainment News

ne-yo shares his views on gender identity, lgbt community and parents with transgender kids
via Instagram @NeYo

Ne-Yo, a renowned Grammy-award-winning recording artist and producer, is facing criticism for his recent insensitive comments about gender identity and parents supporting their transgender children. The consequential backlash of his opinion has ultimately led him to issue a public apology.

Unsurprisingly, the singer's apology is now creating a divide in the social media space, in which many believe his comments do not warrant an apology, while others, specifically those within the LGBTQ+ community feel otherwise.

To help move this conversation toward a solution, we will offer a series of reasons and perspectives for both Ne-Yo and the public to consider about why insensitive comments towards this topic are a problem.

How It All Began

In an interview with Gloria Velez for VladTV, Ne-Yo, 43, shared his views on gender identity and on parents who choose to support their transgender children.

"I personally come from an era where a man was a man and a woman was a woman, and it wasn't but two genders and that’s just how I rocked. Now you could identify as a goldfish if you feel like...that ain’t my business. It becomes my business when you try to make me play the game with you, I'm not finna call you a goldfish, but if you wanna be a goldfish, go be a goldfish. We live in a weird time man."

Ne-Yo continued, “I feel like the parents have almost forgotten what the role of a parent is,” he began. “If your little boy comes up to you and says, ‘Daddy I wanna be a girl,’ you just let him rock with that?”

Ne-Yo added, “Where did he get that? If you let this 5-year-old little boy eat candy all day, he’s gonna do that. Like, when did it become a good idea to let a 5-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 12-year-old make a life-changing decision for [themselves]? When did that happen? Like, I don’t understand that.”

Following the release of the interview, Ne-Yo received backlash online. He issued an apology the next day on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“After much reflection, I’d like to express my deepest apologies to anyone that I may have hurt with my comments on parenting and gender identity,” he wrote. “I’ve always been an advocate for love and inclusivity in the LGBTQ+ community, so I understand how my comments could’ve been interpreted as insensitive and offensive. Gender identity is nuanced and I can honestly admit that I plan to better educate myself on the topic, so I can approach future conversations with more empathy. At the end of the day I lead with love and support everyone’s freedom of expression and pursuit of happiness.”

Ne-Yo later shared a video of himself on his Instagram story furthering his apology but also noting that he will not be bullied for his opinion. Watch Below:

Reasons Why Ne-Yo's 'Opinion' is a Problem!

Public Figures Have a Responsibility, whether they Accept it or Not

Celebrities should be mindful when expressing their opinions on social media, especially regarding the LGBTQ+ community, because their words and actions carry significant influence and impact on a global scale. Many people look up to celebrities as role models, even if they do not consider themselves as one.

When a celebrity expresses opinions that are discriminatory or insensitive towards the LGBTQ+ community, it may validate or encourage similar views in their followers, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and attitudes.

As public figures, celebrities have a responsibility to use their platform to promote understanding, empathy, and inclusivity. Being mindful of their words helps create a more tolerant and accepting society. Unfortunately, it may be too late to undo that harm when apologizing after the fact.

Ne-Yo's Opinion Perpetuates Harm Towards Children Diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress due to a discrepancy between their gender identity and the sex they were assigned at birth. It is important to note that not all transgender individuals experience gender dysphoria. For those who do, it can be a deeply distressing and emotional experience.

Ne-Yo should understand that gender dysphoria is a serious mental health condition that shouldn't be simplified to scenarios of a child coming to their parent and saying 'I want to be a boy/girl' and a parent immediately obliging. This condition is often monitored and deeply evaluated by psychologists, mental health professionals and doctors over a long period of time. The scenario he and many others often uses as an example does not end there.

According to the 2022 National Survey on LGBTQIA+ Youth Mental Health, nearly half of LGBTQIA+ youth thought about attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Anxiety and depression were also common, with 73 percent of LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 58 percent experiencing symptoms of depression.

Transgender individuals already face significant challenges related to their gender identity. Insensitive comments can lead to feelings of shame, isolation, and depression, which can have a severe impact on their emotional well-being.

Remarks like "you can identify as a goldfish' can fuel discrimination and harassment against transgender individuals, leading to increased rates of bullying and violence. This also perpetuates misinformation about gender identity and transgender experiences, hindering efforts to promote understanding and empathy.

Uninformed Opinions are Harmful, Parents are Not Immediately Medicating their Transgender Children

The medical process to treat gender dysphoria often involves a multidisciplinary approach.

Before a transgender child is given medication or puberty blockers, there are other steps that usually take place first. Mental health professionals experienced in working with transgender individuals can provide support and help individuals navigate their feelings and emotions related to their gender identity.

Sometimes, a social transition helps a child cope with their condition before taking medical steps. This involves adopting social roles, name, or pronouns that align with the individual's gender identity, which can be an important part of the treatment process.

Connecting with support groups and other transgender individuals can provide a sense of community and understanding during the journey of self-discovery and affirmation. All of these things can be done before medically treating a child. If this is indeed a 'phase' that many people claim that children may experience, then the above solutions will weed out that claim.

Additionally, hormone therapy and surgery can be considered after further evaluation to treat a child. According to Plan Parenthood, if you’re 17 or younger, you need your parent or guardian’s consent to get gender-affirming hormone replacement therapies (HRT) like testosterone and estrogen. However, some states are trying to pass laws blocking people under certain ages from getting HRT, even with parental consent.

You might be required to get a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria to get gender-affirming care, or to get your care covered by your health insurance plan. The doctors who make these diagnoses factor in your age and how long you have known your gender.

The Takeaway - Be Kind, Empathetic, and Understanding

Celebrities like Ne-Yo have a significant impact on public discourse, and their opinions can shape attitudes and perceptions toward the LGBTQ+ community. Being mindful of their words and using their influence responsibly can contribute to a more inclusive and accepting society for all.

It is easy to hypothesize that you would never medically treat your child who claims they are transgender. Many people, including celebrities, forget the many medical evaluations involved in treating such an issue. This type of matter is best to remain amongst the individuals involved and their doctors. It's honestly no one's business, not even the government in some cases to insert themselves in conversations that involve these issues.

Gaye Magazine hopes that Ne-Yo and others educate themselves and consider being more kind, empathetic, and understanding when asked about transgender people. Of course, we can all use more grace when figuring these things out. An opinion is yours to have, but understand that your opinion can cause harm. Ask yourself, truly, what would you do in their shoes?


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