Billy Bragg changes lyrics to song in solidarity with trans people: ‘Time’s changed’

Billy Bragg performs live at Vicar Street on November 04, 2021 in Dublin, Ireland

Billy Bragg, the lovelorn torchbearer of the oppressed, has come out swinging for trans rights by tweaking one of his songs in a small by seismic way.

The British singer, 63, quietly changed the song “Sexuality”, which was released 30 years ago as a rallying cry for queer rights, during a recent live performance.

In the original version of the song, Bragg belts: “And just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away / If you stick around I’m sure that we can find some common ground.”

The song, from his album Don’t Try This at Home, soared to number 27 on the British charts when it dropped in 1991.

But during a 4 November performance at Vicar Street in Dublin, Ireland, the folk singer and anti-facist activist changed “gay” to “they” in support of trans people.

“Time’s changed,” he said of the change on Twitter in response to anti-trans users who, of course, took issue. “Anyone born since the song was released would wonder why it’s a big deal to find common ground with a gay man.

“The front line is now trans rights.”

Billy Bragg: ‘Trans people need our allyship’

He added: “‘Sexuality’ is a song about learning to respect difference. In 1991, the LG community were marginalised by AIDS and Section 28.

“Now that we have gay marriage, etc, the song needs updating and today, it’s the trans community who are marginalised and need our allyship.”

Indeed, in Britain, trans people are facing off against a terrifying wave of violence that is seeing police investigate hundreds of offences each month.

Trans healthcare is practically threadbare, trans rights are being gradual eroded and turned into a culture war while the press is packed with relentless anti-trans news coverage. This has all left trans Brits more likely to suffer worse mental health than the straight population.

Bragg stressed that trans rights are not an “age-related issue” and that efforts by some to drive a wedge between the LGB and trans communities are “divisive“.

“For centuries, the trans community have been targeted alongside the LGB by homophobes blind to the distinction you are seeking to make.

“Trans have also been in the forefront of the battles for gay rights. No one ever sought to other them on the barricades.”

“[To be honest,] it breaks my heart to see people who claim to be feminists siding with people who would deprive them of their rights in a moment.”

Pronouns, Bragg added, are a “simple way of showing respect“. And above all, Bragg added, trans rights is the simple battle for trans people to “exist“.

As much as Bragg was immediately blasted by anti-trans Twitter users for standing up for trans people, countless trans users and allies praised him.

And that, to Bragg, is far more important.

“Always a bit of a concern to wake up to find yourself trending,” Bragg tweeted Friday (12 November) after his name began trending on the service.

“But I have been the recipient of so much love and support from the trans community and trans allies from around the world today.

“Thank you for your solidarity on the issue of trans rights.”