FYI, Janelle Monáe is not about to let hateful legislation steal their Black, non-binary joy

Janelle Monáe wears a gold and black dress at the American Black Film Festival Honors.

No-one can get Janelle Monáe down right now – they’re floating to the beat of their own drum.

Ever since revealing that she identifies as non-binary Monáe, who uses both she and they pronouns, has become a defiant voice for the community

In the face of bigoted legislation sweeping the US, preventing trans and non-binary people from affirming their gender, it would be understandable if someone like Monáe felt helpless. Instead, she’s refusing to let the haters dim her shine.

Speaking to EBONY magazine in a new interview, Monáe, 37, addressed the rising hostility against queer people, and particularly that which is levied against Black queer people.

“We’re working in a world where the first response to queerness, or to trans, or to non-binary is to question its existence or if it’s real, because [people have] been taught heteronormative ways of living,” they explained.

“We live in a world where they’re creating laws that even take out us talking about slavery, that take out us talking about LGBTQIA+ communities – like, literal erasure of our existence is continuing to happen.”

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While what is happening in states like Utah, Tennessee and Florida is devastating, Monáe has wise words for everyone who is, rightfully, furious about the legislation.

“As upsetting as that is, I try not to allow that part of the world to make me hard, to make me cold, to make me evil,” they shared.

“I have to actively give myself mantras and call my therapist about it, talk to people in my community. Community, for us, is everything. To peacefully deal with those sorts of obstacles and find joy, steal joy – it takes daily practice.”

Don’t mistake the Glass Onion: Knives Out star’s calmness for complacency, though. She may be floating her way to freedom in how she identifies, but she is very much intent on challenging those who try and put roadblocks in her way.

Addressing hateful legislators directly, Monáe said: “For the folks who are purposefully trying to erase non-binary or trans folks, it’s not my job to keep educating you.

“I will continue to stand with non-binary and trans folks in my community, in my family, and fight back against that.”

Janelle Monáe wears a black suit jacket, white shirt and collar
Janelle Monáe. (Victor Boyko/Getty for Christian Louboutin)

Monáe has previously spoken out about the importance of listening to trans and non-binary people, and now they are also advocating for better education on what it means to identify outside of the binary.

Contrary to what some might think, non-binary people are not a new phenomenon.

“I don’t think there’s anything new about Black folks identifying as non-binary,” Monáe explained to EBONY Magzine.

“I think that maybe the language has shifted, but we can see throughout history who was living their lives as freea**muthaf**kas and who did not conform to gender norms.

“For me, we have to keep having the conversation,” they continued.

“It’s so important, because our next generations of people who are having these conversations at school or around their circles, they need to be able to be as educated as they possibly can and not speak out of ignorance, out of not knowing.”

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