Ne-Yo is catching heat from people, especially the LGBTQ+ community, for sharing his thoughts on gender identity. During a recent interview with Gloria Velez for VladTV, the crooner and Velez broached the subject of transgender children and their right to have gender-affirming care.
“I just personally come from an era where a man was a man and a woman was a woman,” the singer started. “And there was two genders, and that’s just how I rocked. You could identify as a goldfish if you feel like, I don’t care. That ain’t my business. It becomes my business when you try to make me play the game with you. I’m not gonna call you a goldfish. But if you wanna be a goldfish, you go be a goldfish. We live in a weird time, man. We do.”
On the matter of kids being able to change their gender, he had stronger opinions, particularly aimed at parents.
“I feel like parents have almost forgotten what the role of a parent is. If your little boy comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I want to be a girl,’ and you just let him rock with that? He’s 5 … If you let this 5-year-old boy decide to eat candy all day, he’s gonna do that. When did it become a good idea to let a 5-year-old, let a 6-year-old, let a 12-year-old make a life-changing decision for themself? When did that happen? I don’t understand,” he said. “He can’t drive a car yet, but he can decide his sex?”
The World Health Organization defines gender-affirming care as social, psychological, behavioral and medical interventions that support an individual’s gender identity. Currently, around 19 states have laws restricting gender-affirming care.
Ne-Yo’s thoughts didn’t sit well and he found himself receiving backlash. The 43-year-old father of seven doubled down on his views but stated that he wasn’t judging anyone.
“1st and foremost, I CONDEMN NO ONE. Who am I to condemn anybody? Your life, your kids, your choice,” the “Miss Independent” artist wrote. “I was asked a question and I answered it. My opinion is mine. I’m not asking anybody to agree with me nor am I telling you what you can and cannot do with your children. I stated my opinion on a matter and that’s that. Why should I care if my opinion upsets you when you don’t care if yours upsets anyone? Opinions aren’t special. We all have one. People voice them regularly whether they’re asked or not. I was actually asked mine. Agreeing to disagree is not a declaration of war. Y’all do whatever the hell y’all want to. But my feelings on the matter are mine. Same way yours are yours. Meanwhile, I love everybody. Don’t agree with some of y’all’s ideals….but love you no less.”
The backlash clearly got to the artist or someone had a sit down with him as on Saturday, August 5, he apologized for the way he expressed his views in a tweet. Also known as Shaffer Chimere Smith, he made a commitment to better educate himself on the topic.
“After much reflection, I’d like to express my deepest apologies to anyone that I may have hurt with my comments on parenting and gender identity,” the singer wrote. “I’ve always been an advocate for love and inclusivity in the LGBTQI+ community, so I understand how my comments could’ve been interpreted as insensitive and offensive.”
Ne-Yo continued, “Gender identity is nuanced and I can honestly admit that I plan to better educate myself on the topic, so I can approach future conversations with more empathy.”