Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall has long been an LGBTQ+ advocate but it wasn’t until this year that she first faced backlash from transphobes.
It all started in October 2021 when Jade used the Little Mix Twitter account to endorse Shon Faye’s book The Transgender Issue. She wrote,
“The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye. Everyone should read this.”
The backlash from TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical “Feminists”) was swift and vicious. In an interview with GAY TIMES, she recalled,
“I definitely had, as an ally, the tiniest experience of those transphobes.”
“I was like, fucking hell that’s relentless, so horrific, that you can’t even suggest something without an army of these TERFs and transphobes coming out of the woodwork and having something to say about it.”
This was the first time that Jade had been attacked by TERFs and it was definitely a wake-up call. She said,
“I was like, fuck. I obviously know they’re there, and they exist, but that was just a tiny, tiny experience of what that’s like for trans people.”
Even putting that transphobic attack aside, the singer said that she’s particularly become aware of the severe transphobia in the UK since COVID and quarantine began.
“I don’t know why, maybe it’s because we have been indoors more you’re confronted with it more, but transphobia in the UK at the minute and worldwide is quite scary and quite alarming.”
“It’s terrifying. It is terrifying that there’s not enough support for the trans community politically, on social media, via certain media outlets, and what we’ve seen with Dave Chappelle. One good thing I suppose is with social media that there is a very open dialogue about it but yeah, it’s just awful.”
Jade, as well as her Little Mix bandmates, have been LGBTQ+ allies since day one. They’ve marched in Manchester Pride, declared their song “Secret Love Song” a queer anthem, and flew a giant gay pride flag when they performed in Dubai, in which homosexuality is illegal.
That Dubai performance was actually a difficult decision for Jade, who told the podcast Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware in November 2021,
“In my mind it either was I don’t go or I go and make a statement and give my fee to a charity.”
But in the end, she decided that the band’s presence was vital and the group went ahead with the performance.
“Those places, more than anywhere else, need someone to turn up as an ally and fly that flag for them so they don’t feel so alone.”
She also felt particularly obligated to go to Dubai and show her support as an Arab woman herself (Jade is of Egyptian and Yemeni descent).
“It’s very important for me with my Middle East fans to show them that they can have someone to look up to and realize they’re not alone in it.”
And even though the band feared they would be arrested after the performance, Jade said she’s glad they did it.
In a June 2021 essay for Metro, Jade said,
“I saw so many positive tweets and messages from the community. It made laying in our hotel rooms s**tting ourselves that we’d get arrested that night more than worth it.”
Although Jade has always been vocal about her support for the LGBTQ+ community, she’s the first to admit that she’s still learning how to be a better ally. She told Attitude,
“I’m just constantly trying to learn and not speak for other people, but speak with them. That’s a big part of my ally journey. Because I would never want to look like I was just using that audience for my own benefit.”
Jade, along with her bandmates Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards, is currently preparing for the 2022 Confetti tour. However, the group recently announced their intentions on taking a break (not a break-up) after the tour. The band tweeted,
“We are not splitting up — Little Mix are here to stay 💫 We have plans for more music, tours, and performances in the future. We’ve made so many incredible memories with you all, and we can’t wait to make so many more.”
The hiatus makes sense given that both Perrie and Leigh-Anne recently gave birth to their first children. On October 16, Leigh-Anne gave birth to twins and, a few days later, Perrie gave birth to her son Axel.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.