Billy Bragg updates 1991 single ‘Sexuality’ to support trans rights

“’Sexuality’ is a song about learning to respect difference”

Billy Bragg has changed the lyrics to his iconic song ‘Sexuality’ in support of trans rights.

The folk singer is currently on a tour of the UK and has changed the lyrics of the 1991 track from “Just because you’re gay, I won’t turn you away. If you stick around, I’m sure that we can find some common ground” to “Just because you’re they, I won’t turn you away. If you stick around, I’m sure that we can find the right pronoun”.

You can watch fan-shot footage below.

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Bragg went on to explain: “Times changed. Anyone born since the song was released would wonder why it’s a big deal to find common ground with a gay man. The front line now is trans rights.”

When pushed on which trans rights Bragg was in support of, he simply replied: “[the right to] exist”.

He added: “Sexuality is a song about learning to respect difference. In 1991, the LG community were marginalised by AIDS and Section 28. Now that we have gay marriage etc the song needs updating and today, it’s the trans community who are marginalised and need our allyship.

As for pronouns, they’re a simple way of showing respect. Nothing compels you to use them, just as nothing compels you not to call a person of Pakistani heritage the P word.”

Bragg also criticised women who did not support trans rights. “TBH it breaks my heart to see people who claim to be feminists siding with people who would deprive them of their rights in a moment,” he said.

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Elsewhere in ‘Sexuality (2021)’, Bragg seems to criticise the former The Smiths frontman, singing “Don’t threaten me with Morrissey” before quipping “whatever happened to that guy?”.

In 2019, Bragg shared a statement condemning Morrissey for spreading far-right ideals.

Speaking about separating the art from the artists, Bragg told NME: “As someone who writes political songs, there are plenty of people out there who are Tories who like my love songs, so clearly you can do that.

“I struggle. I’m OK listening to The Smiths, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to his solo albums anymore – although I wasn’t much of a fan of those anyway.”

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