‘Horrific TERFs’ won’t stop Little Mix icon Jade Thirlwall from being an unwavering trans ally

Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix.

Little Mix star and established trans ally Jade Thirlwall has opened up about the “immediate flurry” of transphobia she received after recommending a bestselling book by trans author Shon Faye.

“I was like, f**k. I obviously know they’re there, and they exist, but that was just a tiny, tiny experience of what that’s like for trans people,” Thirwall said.

She was referring to the time when, on 3 October, Little Mix were asked by a fan on Twitter what they were reading. The group replied: “The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye. Everyone should read this”, adding a star emoji.

Liked almost 5,000 times, the shout-out from the UK’s favourite girl group did not go unnoticed by Shon Faye. One hour later, she tweeted: “Endorsements from Judith Butler and Little Mix. It’s called range.” (Faye is no longer on Twitter).

But in a Gay Times interview, Thirwall has revealed that this innocuous tweet led to an “immediate flurry” of transphobic backlash.

“I was like, f**king hell that’s relentless, so horrific, that you can’t even suggest something without an army of these TERFs and transphobes coming out of the woodwork and having something to say about it,” she said.

Thirlwall continued: “It’s terrifying. It is terrifying that there’s not enough support for the trans community politically, on social media, via certain media outlets, and what we’ve seen with Dave Chappelle. One good thing I suppose is with social media that there is a very open dialogue about it but yeah, it’s just awful.”

She added: “Sometimes it can feel a bit hard to know exactly what you’re meant to do to help and combat that. So I’m definitely trying my best to talk to Stonewall more about how I can help and be there for my friends, for my trans friends and find ways to support them through that, and push governments and the right people into making a change.”

Little Mix stars Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock at Pride in London

Little Mix stars Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock at Pride in London (Mermaids)

Thirlwall has spoken out repeatedly in support of trans and non-binary rights, and Thirlwall and her Little Mix bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock marched with Mermaids, a charity that supports the families of young trans people, at Pride in London in 2019.

And in a May interview with HUNGER magazine, the British girl group explained why trans allyship should be the bare minimum.

“I always find it strange when people ask me why I’m an ally because it doesn’t really take a lot to do it,” Thirlwall said.

“We have a huge fanbase and, within that fanbase, we have a lot of LGBT+ fans. We’d be doing them a disservice if we were benefiting from their loyalty to us but didn’t speak up for them.”