On Monday's episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored, Gray spoke about her controversial thoughts on changing the American flag and her strict definition of who can be considered a woman, which earned the R&B singer some online backlash from viewers who interpreted the statements as transphobic.
During the interview, Morgan, 57, brought up a 2021 op-ed written by the 54-year-old Grammy winner for MarketWatch, in which she called the U.S. flag "tattered, dated, divisive and incorrect," compared it to the Confederate flag, and called for a redesign that represents the diversity of present-day America.
Gray stood by her comments. "Reboot the constitution, the flag… All the old standards that our ancestors lived by were right for the time they lived in, but we're in a different time," she told Morgan. "To me, what the States do best is diversity, is culture. You know what I mean? Without culture in America you really don't have much going on."
Piers Morgan Uncensored/Youtube Macy Gray
The controversial talk show host then praised the American flag and asked why Gray wanted to spark a debate, to which she responded, "Whenever the flag was conceptualized they made it based off what was going on during that time, which was a war. That's another thing, we celebrate a flag that represents war."
Morgan continued to defend the American flag and said he has one with 34 stars from the Civil War era hanging in his office, considers it a "stirring emblem" and doesn't think specifically about white people when he sees it.
"It's not that it's about white people. Everything is different than when Lincoln was president, and whoever designed that flag designed it for that day," she explained. "So I'm just saying, what's wrong with a new flag? What's wrong with representing where we are now?"
Morgan and Gray then discussed increased awareness of racial injustice in the U.S. following the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd's murder by police in May 2020. The "I Try" performer said America is less racist than when she was born in 1967 but admitted she still doesn't "understand racism" today.
Mike Marsland/ITN/WireImage Piers Morgan
"I get, like, I'm sitting here with you, and we're different. There might be things I wouldn't want to say around you that I might say in front of my friends of color, and vice versa," she detailed. "But to hate someone or want to kill someone or hold somebody down because of what they look like, I don't understand."
The host agreed and asked Gray about the best way to tackle the issue in American society.
"You need to let go of needing to be better than everyone else. You have to let go of your hang-ups about slavery, you have to let go of your hang-ups about superiority. It's very personal, how you feel about other people," she answered before bringing up the topic of gender identity. "Like, we could have a conversation about how you feel about women, and there would be so many things that went into that."
Morgan claimed "most public figures are too terrified to even say what they think a woman is" and asked Gray to define a woman. "I would say a human being with boobs. You have to start there — and a vagina," she said.
The former Good Morning Britain presenter claimed the dictionary definition of woman is "quite straightforward," seeming to equate it with Gray's personal meaning of the word, to which the singer responded with a comment about pronouns. "See, now that's getting confusing, the whole 'he, she, they…'" she said.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Macy Gray
"It's a bit like this whole issue of transgenders in sport. I support all trans rights to fairness and equality," Morgan replied, and Gray agreed.
He continued, "But not where you have people born to obvious physical superior bodies transitioning and then thrashing the women at their sport."
"I totally agree," said Gray. "And I will say this, and everybody's gonna hate me, but as a woman, just because you go change your parts doesn't make you a woman. Sorry."
Morgan then asked, "You feel that?"
"I know that for a fact," Gray exclaimed. "But 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 surgery."
"People do feel that there's biological sex and then there's gender identity," added Morgan. "You can identify as whatever you like... That's the freedom we live in. But actually, you can't change the mechanics of biological sex. They are what they are."
"Women go through just a completely unique experience, and surgery or finding yourself doesn't change that," Gray continued. "Being a little girl is a whole epic book, you know. And you can't have that just because you want to be a woman."
SGranitz/WireImage Macy Gray
Morgan then brought up author J.K. Rowling's similarly controversial comments about gender identity and told Gray she could get "attacked" and "abused" by "a cancel culture mob" following the interview.
"But it's the truth, and I don't think you should be called transphobic just because you don't agree," replied the musician. "There's a lot of judgment and throwing stones at people for just saying what it is."
Later in the interview, Gray said she's proud to be an American despite her thoughts on the nation's flag: "I'm proud of my country. I'm proud of where I'm from, of being a woman, of being Black. I love everybody. I can honestly say I love everybody."
After the clip aired, the singer-songwriter faced criticism online from several Twitter users for her comments, and she voiced support for the queer community while standing by her thoughts.
"there is no bigger admirer of lgbt community than [yours] truly. it takes real balls to be honest about who you are. 'woman' is a title that you earn and become. just like 'man,'" wrote Gray in a tweet. "there are plenty of females who aren't women yet and every girl gets that."
there is no bigger admirer of lgbt community than your truly. it takes real balls to be honest about who you are. "woman" is a title that you earn and become. just like "man." there are plenty of females who aren't women yet and every girl gets that.
— Macy Gray (@MacyGraysLife) July 4, 2022
English television host India Willoughby, who identifies as transgender, then replied to a clip of the interview, writing on Twitter, "Have you only got ten questions Piers? Same to every guest. No wonder you're tanking. Don't ever say 'I'm not transphobic' again. Total chicken."
"As for Macey [sic] - how to kill what's left of your career," Willoughby wrote in another tweet.
"truth hurts," replied Gray.
The singer continued her thoughts in a follow-up post and wrote, "i wasn't defining trans women. just women. because i know what it means to be one. i don't know what it means to be a trans woman and never said i did. but that goes both ways."
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 5, 2022
Rowling then chimed into the matter, sharing a screenshot of Willoughby and Gray's exchange on Twitter and writing, "Today feels like a good day to ensure I've bought @MacyGraysLife's entire back catalogue."
Later Tuesday, Gray issued a statement saying, "I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ+ and transgender community and have been a supporter since Day One. My statement on Piers Morgan was grossly misunderstood. I don't hate anyone. I respect everyone's right to feel comfortable in their bodies and live their own truth."