Janelle Monáe vows to fight anti-LGBTQ+ legislation: ‘I will never sit back and be silent’

US singer and actor Janelle Monáe wears a black top, white beret and blue earring while standing against a red, orange, white and blue background.

Music superstar Janelle Monáe has promised their queer “siblings” that they will do whatever they can to tackle the raft of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being passed across the US.

A record number of bills targeting LGBTQ+ people have advanced in Republican-controlled states in 2023, with trans people and drag performers particularly affected by this legislative onslaught.

In states including Florida, Texas, and Kentucky, right-wing legislators have passed bills aiming to prevent trans youth from accessing vital gender-affirming healthcare, stop trans students from taking part in sports that align with their gender identity, and ban drag artists from performing in public.

Celebrities including Paramore’s Hayley Williams, RuPaul, actor Kevin Bacon and The Little Mermaid’s Melissa McCarthy have spoken out against the bills, and vowed to challenge them in whatever way they can.

Janelle Monáe is also very much part of the chorus speaking out against hateful anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The “Lipstick Lover” singer and Glass Onion: Knives Out actor, who came out as non-binary last year and uses both she/her and they/them pronouns, has said she will be “fighting back”.

A still from Janelle Monáe's Lipstick Lover music video.
A still from Janelle Monáe’s Lipstick Lover music video. (YouTube/Janelle Monáe)

Speaking with Washington radio show Majic 102.3 earlier this week ahead of the release of their fourth record The Age of Pleasure, Monáe said they would “never be silent”.

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“You respond by fighting back, by speaking against, standing with our trans community, my siblings,” they said.

“As a non-binary, queer, pansexual person, I am proud to be in this community … I will never sit back and be silent about the injustices that are happening against our trans community.”

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Ever since revealing that they are queer, Janelle Monáe has tirelessly used their platform to stand up for LGBTQ+ people. Last year, they were even honoured for their unflinching advocacy.

In addition to speaking up for the queer community, Monáe is also keen for us to not forget how the hateful legislation passing in the US is steeped in racism, too. 

“People need to understand that it’s not just trans people that are getting these sorts of bills passed to erase their existence or to make them feel as though they dont matter or they don’t deserve human decency. It’s also Black folks,” the “Make Me Feel” star told Majic 102.3.

Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae. (Getty Images)

“When you think about what’s happening in schools – we can’t talk about the LGBTQI+ communities – we also, in some of these same schools, they are restricting us to talk about books and speak about Black history.

“They’re trying to erase our history, which is American history. If we’re erasing history, how are we supposed to correct the mistakes that the past has made and create a better future?” they questioned.

Hundreds of books that address racial injustice and LGBTQ+ issues have been banned in schools and libraries across the US.

Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, for example, introduced the Stop Woke Act in 2022, which restricts how workplaces, schools and colleges can educate staff and students on racism and homophobia.

Despite the ongoing legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, Janelle Monáe is refusing to let it make them “hard”, “cold” or “evil”.

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“I have to actively give myself mantras and call my therapist about it, talk to people in my community. Community, for us, is everything,” they told Ebony Magazine earlier this year.

“To peacefully deal with those sorts of obstacles and find joy, steal joy – it takes daily practice.”

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