‘I Don’t Understand’ – Billboard
Written by GRB on 06/08/2023
Ne-Yo shared his thoughts on how to parent transgender children and questioned minors’ rights to receive gender-affirming care in a new interview.
The singer, a dad of seven children, spoke for several minutes on the topic during a conversation with Gloria Velez for VladTV.
Ne-Yo prefaced what he was about to say with “I have no issue with LBG — I have no problem with nobody. You love who you love, you do what you do.”
“I just personally come from an era where a man was a man and a woman was a woman,” said Ne-Yo. “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.”
Later in the chat he added, “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 can’t drive a car yet, but he can decide his sex?” asked Ne-Yo, referring to a child who identifies that their gender is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. A misinformed Velez replied, “And he can cut off his pee pee.”
“I can’t take credit for it,” Ne-Yo said toward the end of the interview clip, “but I heard somebody say one time, if your son comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I want to be a girl,’ ask your son, ‘Son, what is a girl?’ What is he gonna do? He might want to play with dolls. All right, you want to play with dolls. Play with dolls. But you’re a boy playing with dolls. ‘I want to wear pink.’ Cool, wear pink, but you’re a boy wearing pink.”
The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association, all agree that gender-affirming care is not dangerous for trans youth, and in most cases, it’s highly beneficial and life-saving.
When trans youth receive gender-affirming care, that does not typically include the kind of surgical intervention Velez implied in her conversation with Ne-Yo. Both the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health do not recommend surgical intervention before age 18, unless the patient, their doctor and a mental health professional all agree that intervention is necessary.
Gender-affirming care for minors may focus on gender expression, publicly changing pronouns and names, and using puberty blockers, which pause permanent physical change while the patient decides how they want to proceed with their transition. In later teenage years, well-established patients may begin gender-affirming hormone treatment.
“If rap is not embracing them, that’s the only people that ain’t embracing them,” he replied at the time. “It doesn’t make any sense. I mean, they’re here, they’re not going anywhere. They’re people just like us, and I feel like they deserve the same respect.”
Ne-Yo released his latest studio album, Self Explanatory, in July 2022.
Watch Ne-Yo’s interview with Velez below.