Róisín Murphy has been criticised online for a statement she posted after fans unearthed a comment about the use of puberty blockers.
The singer came under fire recently after she posted a comment on Facebook using her personal profile where she criticised the use of puberty blockers – medicines used to delay the changes of puberty for transgender and gender-diverse youth.
Taking to Twitter to explain her comment after it was discovered by fans, Murphy said she had been “thrown into a very public discourse,” adding: “I will now completely bow out of this conversation within the public domain.”
What did Róisín Murphy say about trans rights?
In her original Facebook comment, Murphy said: “Please don’t call me a terf [trans exclusionary radical feminist]. But puberty blockers ARE FUCKED, absolutely desolate, big Pharma laughing all the way to the bank. Little mixed up kids are vulnerable and need to be protected, that’s just true.”
After criticism from fans and trans rights groups, she took to Twitter to explain her comments, saying: “I have been thrown into a very public discourse in an arena I’m uncomfortable in and deeply unsuitable for. I cannot apologise enough for being the reason for this eruption of damaging and potentially dangerous social-media fire and brimstone. To witness the ramifications of my actions and the divisions it has caused is heartbreaking.”
— Róisín Murphy (@roisinmurphy) August 29, 2023
“I should’ve known too that I was stepping out of line. I’ve spent my whole life celebrating diversity and different views, but I never patronise or cynically aim my music directly at the pockets of any demographic,” she continued. “For those of you who are leaving me, or have already left, I understand, I really do, but please know I have loved every one of you.”
Murphy added: “I will now completely bow out of this conversation within the public domain. I’m not in the slightest bit interested in turning it into ANY kind of ‘campaign’, because campaigning is not what I do. […] My true calling is music and music will never exclude any of us.”
Why are her comments controversial?
Since her comments and subsequent explanation, Murphy has been criticised by fans on social media.
“You claim to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and perform at queer festivals such as Homobloc,” queer artist Joanna Cuddle wrote on Twitter, “but here you are letting down your trans fans (and any trans friends you may have) by buying into “gender critical” transphobic conspiracy theories. You’re doing this, rn.”
You claim to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and perform at queer festivals such as @homobloc – but here you are letting down your trans fans (and any trans friends you may have) by buying into "gender critical" transphobic conspiracy theories. You're doing this, rn. pic.twitter.com/2akZTZdWMS
— Joanna Cuddle (@joannacuddle) August 23, 2023
Others have also criticised Murphy’s comments, with one writing: “This is cis privilege. She can make ignorant comments about trans kids being “mixed up kids” and say “big pharma is laughing all the way to the bank” and then just “bow out.” Trans people can’t “bow out” of the hurt she caused with her ill-educated comments about them, can they?”
This is cis privilege. She can make ignorant comments about trans kids being "mixed up kids" and say "big pharma is laughing all the way to the bank" and then just "bow out." Trans people can't "bow out" of the hurt she caused with her ill-educated comments about them, can they? https://t.co/TvuOVjDYfP
— Aidan Comerford (@AidanCTweets) August 29, 2023
Classic example of the half-arsed, evasive celebrity non-apology making someone look even more out of touch than the thing they’re apologising for, from someone I really hoped would have known better. https://t.co/MzdpcNx8W0
— Ed Gillett (@ehgillett) August 29, 2023
Róisín’s music, style, performance have been so important to me for many years – but this isn’t ok.
Beyond disappointed with this lacklustre response – & lack of a commitment to learn or grow.
Just released our tix for gigs next week & in Feb
A fan lost. https://t.co/PvG67MjLKU
— Dr John Gilmore (@GilmoreJNurse) August 29, 2023
How nice for Róisín to be able to "bow out" of the fearmongering bigotry she stoked. Unfortunately trans people don't have that option. https://t.co/oiWTrApWSa
— ash (@StevieNicksTD) August 29, 2023
Loads and loads of word salad.
Very "I'm sorry if you got upset by what I said" vibes.
No commitment to learn fact.
Not the LGBTQI+ ally we had previously thought. Disappointing. https://t.co/0jtL3Zj31R
— Noah Halpin (@Noah_Halpin) August 29, 2023
— Astro Jose 🇺🇦 (@astrojochimin) August 30, 2023
Others have been pointing to Murphy’s recent interviews, in which she praises her heavily queer audience.
“To say you are proud of your (queer) audience, be inspired by queer culture, and then pretend your music is for no particular demographic – despite admitting hairless toys was inspired by ballroom and paris is burning – makes róisín a liar on top of admitting she’s a transphobe,” one wrote.
to say you are proud of your (queer) audience, be inspired by queer culture, and then pretend your music is for no particular demographic – despite admitting hairless toys was inspired by ballroom and paris is burning – makes róisín a liar on top of admitting she's a transphobe https://t.co/IcLQKEABaR pic.twitter.com/zF1FegvwSY
— josh (@joshuasean2900) August 29, 2023
One to defend Murphy, though, was ex-Mumford & Sons banjo player Winston Marshall, who said she was “correct” and had “nothing to apologise for”.
Marshall faced an online backlash in March 2021 after tweeting praise for a book by the controversial US journalist Andy Ngo, titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy. After taking an initial break from the group following the backlash, Marshall officially left Mumford & Sons in June 2021.
“Puberty blockers are fucked, absolutely desolate, big pharma laughing all the way to the bank. Little mixed-up kids are vulnerable and need to be protected, that’s just true.”
She was correct. Nothing to apologise for
These apologies are almost daily now https://t.co/Bn4zFTmkD4
— Winston Marshall (@MrWinMarshall) August 29, 2023
While many who stand against trans rights and puberty blockers have spoken in Murphy’s defence, many critics of her stance are also pointing to research from GLAAD which says that puberty blockers significantly decrease the risk of suicide in trans people, and they are endorsed by multiple medical organisations.
A paper by Philip Graham in the National Library of Medicine also adds that research shows “benefit from the interventions [of puberty blockers] for the majority and an absence of significant harm.
“The most recent critical review of the use of puberty blockers has concluded: ‘Although large long-term studies with diverse and multicultural populations have not been done, the evidence to date supports the finding of few serious adverse outcomes and several potential positive outcomes.'”