Macy Gray’s first mistake was agreeing to speak with Piers Morgan.
Morgan has spent decades in broadcasting, so somebody must like him, but he is an acquired taste. There are plenty of reasons to explain why he failed as a television host in America—and some of them relate to his recent choice to quit as host of Good Morning Britain following controversy stemming from his often vitriolic commentary on Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. I know some of Morgan’s friends have argued that he is not racist, but his nastiness towards Meghan Markle and general hostility to issues related to race in years past suggests otherwise.
But even if you find him just to be a fool, he’s now hosting a show on Fox Nation, which says everything about Piers Morgan and the audience to which he appeals.
Unbeknownst to me, though, it seems Gray dabbles in political commentary—penning a 2021 op-ed that argued in light of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday, the United States should revise its flag. Gray discussed this during an appearance that aired Monday on Fox Nation's Piers Morgan Uncensored, but it’s their segue into the subject of gender identity that has rightfully offended many.
It was Gray herself who invoked the subject, telling Morgan, “Like, we could have a conversation about how you feel about women, and there would be so many things that went into that."
That’s when Morgan claimed that “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” Gray answered.
Gray also made the following comment about pronouns: “See, now that's getting confusing, the whole 'he, she, they….’”
I bet her lack of ability to differentiate between gender and sex is the root of some of her confusion, but I digress.
After Morgan brought up trans people in sports, Gray expressed the sentiment, “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.”
Morgan agreed with her, and Gray eventually added, "I know that for a fact, 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.”
Unsurprisingly, after blatantly being offensive to trans people, the two feigned victimhood. Morgan brought up J.K. Rowling, who relentlessly targets trans people online and has made similar arguments.
Macy Gray may object to how Black trans women choose to identify, but she should understand the targets on their backs and speak in public accordingly.
A sympathetic Gray said of Rowling’s past remarks: "But it's the truth, and I don't think you should be called transphobic just because you don't agree. There's a lot of judgment and throwing stones at people for just saying what it is."
Yet Gray maintains that she is no animus towards trans people, writing in a tweet: “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.’ there are plenty of females who aren't women yet and every girl gets that."
Separately, in a statement to Billboard, Gray said: “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.”
Macy Gray was not misunderstood.
Her remarks, boosted by the likes of Rowling, mirror those made by Bette Midler on Monday, when she tweeted, "WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don't call us 'women' anymore; they call us 'birthing people' or 'menstruators, and even 'people with vaginas'! Don't let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!"
As Roxane Gay tried to explain to Midler’s legendary but nonetheless goofy ass underneath the tweet: “No one is trying to erase women with inclusive language about people who need abortion care. No one is calling you anything but what you prefer. You should extend that courtesy in return.”
That’s all this issue boils down to: courtesy to trans people.
Gray says she’s an ally, but not only can she not extend this courtesy to the community, she ridicules them in front of a clownish man known to make stupid and offensive comments about Black people.
Maybe Gray doesn’t hate trans people, but her words contribute to an ongoing hate campaign lodged at the LGBTQ community—particularly trans people—led by the Republican Party and other conservatives in the media.
It is a choice to contribute to that climate.
No matter where you stand on the issue of trans kids playing sports, they are being targeted by the Republican Party under a broader campaign against the community. It is wrong of them to target these kids and their parents. It is disgusting to take their lives and struggles and use them as fodder to win elections.
If there is any community currently in danger of being erased, it is the LGBTQ community being attacked legislatively and in rhetoric. There are ways to disagree and be disagreeable and none of them were found in that exchange between Morgan and Gray. Gray’s post-interview statements lack humility, which ultimately suggests she is doing this to save face.
Anyone lending themselves to the side demonizing queer and trans people is complicit in the rising violence against in the community. Gray may object to how Black trans women choose to identify, but she should understand the targets on their backs and speak in public accordingly.
These are divide and conquer tactics, and she took the bait.
I preferred to think of Macy Gray in terms of “I Try” and being good friends with Karen Huger of The Real Housewives of Potomac. She didn’t have to say any of this. She deserves the ongoing criticism being leveled at her.
The presence of trans women doesn’t make Macy Gray any less of a woman, but her choice to target them with that silly man says a lot about who she is as a person.