The actor and singer has called on everyone to listen to trans and non-binary people, and investigate our own identities

BY KRYSTA MCKENZIE, IMAGE BY ANITA ZVONAR

Janelle Monáe has long expressed her queer identity in her music, and her fashion has often been lauded for breaking gender stereotypes. In a recent interview with Sirius XM, Janelle spoke about why they believe speaking about the experiences of trans and non-binary people is important.

In this clip, she humbly speaks about the importance of investigating our own identities as humanity evolves…

At the 2023 Critics Choice Awards, Janelle gracefully accepted the SeeHer award (which is given to celebrate women whose characters push boundaries and challenge stereotypes). To open their speech, Janelle very proudly declared “I’m Janelle Monáe and my pronouns are she/her, they/them, and free ass motherf****r.”

She has spent her career making sure that she presents the most authentic version of herself. In their 2018 single, Django Jane, they address how they used to be seen as “too mannish” when they were younger – but it’s clear that this didn’t stop them from embracing their identity to the fullest.

Continuing her speech, she said “I try to make an effort in my work… to highlight the ones who have been pushed to the margins of society, who’ve been outcast or relegated to ‘the other,’… And it’s personal because I am non-binary, I am queer, and my identity influences my decisions and my work.”

Hearing the words that Janelle shared with a large audience has been so important to her trans and non-binary audience. Although she has spoken about her gender identity before, she has shown that she will continually make it explicit that she does not believe that her work can exist without the influence of her identity.

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