Finding His Voice

After a four-year hiatus and a transition that threatened his singing voice, the Cliks’ Lucas Silveira is a brand-new man.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

April 16 2013 3:00 AM ET


While the Canadian has long been open about being transgender, he says the political aspect of the identity doesn’t resonate with him personally.

“I’m transgender by definition, but not by identity,” says Silveira. “I don’t really want to be called a transgender person or a trans man because I feel like it’s becoming more of a political identity than a personal one.”

The singer came under intense criticism for his use of the word “tranny” to refer to himself on social media last year, and he says the hostile reaction from LGBT people surprised and disappointed him.

“I just find that a lot of the queer communities are not allowing for personal individual narratives,” says Silveira. “And then calling out people for being politically incorrect with the things that they say.”

Silveira says he didn’t use the word in a derogatory sense, but activists rained criticism on the singer. A widely reblogged Tumblr post recounting the entire exchange — carried out between Silveira and detractors on Facebook —  is titled “Lucas Silveira of The Cliks is an unapologetic, privileged, willfully ignorant, transmisogynistic piece of shit.”

“It actually sort of broke my heart and took a piece of me,” says Silveira. “Sometimes I wonder whether I should have let it, to protect myself…. But I was emailed and cyberbullied and threatened by trans women and a couple of trans guys. I was like, Wow, this has never happened to me with the mainstream heteronormative people. And now this is happening with people who call themselves my community?”

Experiences like that led Silveira to take a step back, he says, from being more visible in the LGBT world.

“I’m just going to be Lucas,” he says. “And yes, I’m very proud that I am the man that was born woman.… People don’t like to hear, ‘Yeah, I was once a woman,’ because that means I’m not ‘legitimately trans.’ ”

Silveira still believes his music is honest and authentic, and he argues that anyone who listens to Black Tie Elevator will get a glimpse into his soul.

“I think part of being a musician is also about being open about who you are and your personal life, to a certain extent,” Silveira says. “Especially if you’re the kind of writer that I am. I’m a very personal writer.”

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