Lizzo, an American singer, rapper, and flutist, is among a few mainstream musicians to have come out in support of trans rights publicly. She made headlines in August 2021 for calling out what she called “complicit silence and apathetic participation” in the face of transphobia.
Transphobia refers to the discrimination and hatred towards transgender people by individuals, institutions, and cultures. Transgender people face discrimination in various forms, including access to healthcare, employment, education, housing, and public accommodation. These challenges often lead to higher rates of poverty, homelessness, and suicide among trans people.
Lizzo, a self-proclaimed body positivity activist, took to Instagram to call out transphobia and the importance of supporting trans people. “To my trans siblings: despite the difficulties you face, you continue to show up for yourself and each other. You have my love and respect,” she wrote.
She went on to address those who remain silent in the face of transphobia, calling it “complicit silence and apathetic participation,” which she said only perpetuates harm. “It’s not enough to be not transphobic,” she wrote. “We must be anti-transphobic. We have to defend our trans brothers and sisters and fight against the hate they receive every day.”
Her message echoes a longstanding issue within the LGBTQ+ community, where parts of the community are more accepted than others, and where trans people, especially trans women of color, face disproportionate amounts of violence and harassment. According to a 2020 report by Human Rights Campaign, at least 44 transgender or gender-nonconforming people were killed in the US in 2020, the most ever recorded and up from 26 in 2019.
Lizzo’s call to action is critical at a time when trans rights are under attack across the US. In March, Arkansas passed a bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors, which was then followed by similar bills in several other states. In July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 25, which seeks to restrict transgender student-athletes from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.
Such laws are based on the false premise that transgender people, especially trans women, pose a threat to others through their mere existence. This is not only untrue, but it also promotes a culture of violence and discrimination towards a marginalized community.
In her post, Lizzo urged her followers to “educate ourselves and others about the injustices faced by trans people.” She called on allies to listen to trans voices, support trans-led organizations and businesses, and donate to trans-affirming organizations.
Her message is an urgent reminder that it’s not enough to simply not be transphobic; we must actively work towards dismantling systems of oppression and discrimination. We must fight for trans rights and visibility, and celebrate the diversity and beauty of all human beings.
For too long, trans people have been erased or vilified by society, alongside other marginalized groups such as people of color, queer people, and disabled people. However, visibility and representation are vital to creating a world where everyone can thrive and be proud of their identities.
Lizzo is not the first celebrity to speak out in support of trans rights, and she likely will not be the last. However, her message of anti-transphobia and allyship is one that we must all carry and put into action. We need to stand together with our trans siblings, educate ourselves about the issues they face, and advocate for their rights to be recognized and celebrated.
In conclusion, Lizzo’s call to action against “complicit silence and apathetic participation” in the face of transphobia is a powerful message that we all need to hear. We must stand together in support of trans rights, fight against the hate and discrimination they face every day, and work towards creating a world where everyone can thrive and express themselves authentically. Let’s join together to uplift trans voices, celebrate their beauty and diversity, and create a better world for all.