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Ne-Yo Apologizes for Transphobic Comments on Gender Identity

Ne-Yo Apologizes for Transphobic Comments on Gender Identity

Singer Ne-Yo

He spouted off Republican talking points during a televised interview but found himself apologizing for his transphobic statements afterward.


Ne-Yo, the Grammy-winning singer, apologized to the parents of transgender kids after being widely rebuked for comments that were critical of parents who affirm their children’s gender identity. He now says the issue is more “nuanced” than he previously understood and is committed to learning more about gender identity.

Sunday evening Ne-Yo posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“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. 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,” he wrote.

During an appearance on VladTV Saturday, Ne-Yo began part of a conversation about transgender people by discounting their legitimacy.

“I have no issue with the LBG— I have no problem with nobody — love who you love. Do what you do. I just personally come from an era where a man was a man and a woman was a woman, and it wasn’t but two genders.”

He said people can identify as “goldfish,” but “that ain’t my business.”

He added, “It becomes my business when you try to make me play the game with you. I’m not going to call you a goldfish, but [if] you want to be a goldfish, you go be a goldfish.”

He complained that people were “so sensitive” nowadays, that “comedians can’t tell jokes no more,” and that “everybody’s offended.”

He continued that parents these days were soft on their kids because when he was growing up, kids would “wash off” bumps and bruises.

Ne-Yo: When Did it Become OK for a 12-Year-Old Boy to Say He Wants to Be a Girl? (Part 3)

Moving on to gender identity, the singer made a simplistic comparison.

“If you let this five-year-old boy decide to eat candy all day, he’s going to do that,” Ne-Yo said. “When did it become a good idea to let a five-year-old, let a six-year-old, let a 12-year-old make a life-changing decision for they self? When did that happen?”

He noted that “I don’t understand that.”

Texas Republican Rep. Wesley Hunt also recently equated affirming a child’s gender identity with giving them a treat — ice cream — all day.

“If my children had their way, they would have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and for every single meal in between. Oh, the wisdom of children!” Hunt said sarcastically during a House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government hearing during which Republicans sought to vilify gender-affirming care.

“But in a sane country, we know that children aren’t mature enough to make adult decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. That’s why we have parents!” he claimed.

Next, Ne-Yo espoused some misinformation that is a talking point for the right.

“I don’t know if this is true, but I heard a rumor that they either passed or are trying to pass a law in L.A. that states, [that] if your child comes to you and asks to do some of these things and you say,’ no,’ they can take your kid,” Ne-Yo claimed.

The interview host agreed, “Yeah, that’s true. Just passed in California,” she said.

No such law exists.

In AB 665, children 12 and older can obtain mental health counseling or therapy without a parent’s consent. Currently, the law applies only to youth with private health coverage. It is not legal for school mental health professionals to take children away from their parents or guardians, the Associated Press reports.

In his apology, Ne-Yo concluded, “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.”

“At the end of the day, I lead with love and support everyone’s freedom of expression and pursuit of happiness,” Ne-Yo added.

On Monday, however, Ne-Yo took back his apology during a video he posted to Instagram.

“I do not apologize for having an opinion on this matter,” he said. “I’m a 43-year-old heterosexual man raising five boys and two girls, okay? That’s my reality.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Ne-Yo’s retraction of his apology.

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