Macy Gray shares strong trans views with Piers Morgan: Surgery can't make you a 'woman'

·6 min read

Watch: Macy Gray says 'changing your parts doesn't make you a woman'

Macy Gray has sparked a heated debate online after sharing some controversial views about the trans community in an interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored.

On Monday evening, the I Try singer, 54, appeared on the TalkTV show, where the topic of conversation turned to a discussion about the transgender community in the media.

Morgan said he believed that most public figures were too terrified to say "what a woman is" to which the singer seemed to agree saying: "I know!.. I would say a human being with boobs. How about you start there? And a vagina," before adding: "That’s getting confusing."

The TV host brought up the debate of trans people competing in sport, saying that while he "supports all trans rights to fairness and equality", which Gray agreed with, he doesn’t support trans women "born to obvious physical superior bodies, transitioning then thrashing the women at their sport."

In response to Morgan, Gray then said: "I totally agree. And I will say this and everyone’s gonna hate me but as a woman, just because you go change your [body] parts, doesn’t make you a woman, sorry."

Read more: Trans women could soon be able to get pregnant and give birth

UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: Macy Gray arrives at NBC's 'American Song Contest' Week 2 Red Carpet at Universal Studios Hollywood on March 28, 2022 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Macy Gray arrives at NBC's 'American Song Contest' at Universal Studios Hollywood in March, 2022 in California. (Getty Images)

The singer went on to say that though she would use she/her pronouns, she didn't believe that made a person a woman.

"If you want me to call you a 'her', I will, because that's what you want but that doesn't make you a woman just because I call you a 'her' and just because you got a surgery," she continued.

"What women go through is a completely unique experience and surgery or finding yourself doesn't change that," she added. "You know, being a little girl. This is a whole epic book, you know, and you can't, you can't have that just because you want to be a woman."

Morgan went on to bring up the backlash JK Rowling has faced for her comments about the trans community in the past.

“You might get the same for saying it,” Morgan tells Gray, to which she replies: “But it’s the truth. I don’t think you should be called ‘transphobic’ just cause you don’t agree.

“There’s a lot of judgment and throwing stones at people for just saying what it is.”

Read more: True love: ‘My trans husband became a woman and we’re still together’

Gray’s comments have caused something of a backlash on social media, with many hitting out at her views.

"Watching Macy Gray and Bette Midler add to the transphobic narrative that we are somehow taking away from women is yet another depressing example of why we are so damn sick of fighting this battle," one user tweeted. "We are not the enemy."

"I’m actually disappointed in #macygray saying this," another wrote. "I thought she of all people would be the most understanding with her carefree, outlandish self. But hey."

India Willoughby wrote: “Sad and desperate. This is why it’s virtually impossible for anyone trans to work in British media. Easy to dehumanise a group when they’re not represented in the office.”

The broadcaster added a further comment to Piers Morgan's tweet announcing the interview writing: "As for Macey - how to kill what’s left of your career," to which Gray responded simply: "Truth hurts".

Read more: Coming out as LGBTQ+: How to support someone

Following the backlash, Morgan shared a tweet in support of his interviewee.

“Macy Gray, as she predicted, is already being abused, hounded, shamed & branded ‘transphobic’ by the usual vile, vicious mob who attack women that defend women’s rights," he wrote. "I stand with you [Macy Gray] – thanks for your courage and honesty.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Macy Gray performs at Mighty Hoopla at Brockwell Park on June 04, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns)
Macy Gray performs at Mighty Hoopla at Brockwell Park on 4 June, 2022 in London. (Redferns)

Others also showed support for Gray, sharing their views that the singer hadn't been disrespectful in voicing her opinions on the subject.

"Y’all calling Macy Gray transphobic is crazy," one user wrote. "She stated she doesn’t mind calling someone a woman (out of respect) but she has her own opinion on what it means to be a woman. Just like trans people can have opinions….she wasn’t disrespectful at all."

"Macy Gray has as much right to her opinion as anyone else has but now she is being called Transphobic and the knives are out," another wrote. "Love how everyone is encouraged to be kind and love each other – until they share a different view. Such a sad world we are creating here!"

JK Rowling also waded into the debate. Sharing an image of the interaction between India Willoughby and Macy Gray, the Harry Potter author wrote on Twitter: "Today feels like a good day to ensure I've bought @MacyGraysLife's entire back catalogue".

Read more: LGBTQ+ terms explained – how to get it right

Dr Jane Hamlin, president of trans support group, Beaumont Society, told Yahoo UK that Gray's "misinformed" comments could be a setback in the continuing fight for trans rights.

"Like everyone else, Macy Gray is entitled to her views, but it is unfortunate she expresses them in such a hurtful way," she says. "She rejects claims that she is transphobic, but doesn’t seem to realise that stating that trans women are not women, or trans men are not men, is exactly what transphobia is."

While Dr Hamlin says Gray is correct in saying that people who transition late in life miss out on the experience of girlhood, she argues that is not their fault.

"It has been very difficult for anyone to transition before puberty – it is hard enough later in life," Dr Hamlin explains. "If only we had enlightened governments that would provide support to trans people and accurate information to the population at large.

"No one chooses to be trans. It is how we are born. It is who we are," she continues. "The only choice is whether to keep it a secret and risk mental illness or tell friends and family and risk rejection – and possible ridicule and humiliation."

According to Dr Hamlin, "misinformed" comments like those made by Macy Gray and Piers Morgan contribute to perpetuating this situation.

"Trans people are just ordinary people who just want to get on with their lives," she explains. "This is why it is important that groups like the Beaumont Society exist to support trans people and to raise awareness and understanding of the issues and challenges that trans people face.

"We are encouraged that this year the Scottish Government has introduced a Bill to reform the Gender Recognition Act along similar lines to those proposed by the UK Government in 2018, but sadly that was abandoned by the current UK Government."