Clad in a rainbow-colored, checkered print, Grammy-winning singer Lizzo did not hold back Sunday when she was asked about controversial policies in Texas, the state where she grew up.
The 33-year-old artist — best known for her genre-hopping, buoyant smash hits like “Truth Hurts” and “Juice” — said she was disheartened by a new statewide policy affecting transgender children and their families, and by a law restricting abortion access. Both have been the subject of recent court battles.
“They’re taking away the right for young children to have a chance to live authentically as themselves,” said Lizzo, born Melissa Viviane Jefferson. “It’s a violation of human rights. Trans rights are human rights.”
Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed the state’s health agencies to investigate certain gender-affirming treatments as crimes. In a letter, the governor noted that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) had determined that some medical treatments for transgender children — such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy — could “legally constitute child abuse” under state law.
That same day, the state’s Supreme Court shut down a challenge from providers fighting against Texas’s law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. The law took effect in September.
The court’s decision means the ban, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, will remain in place for now, The Washington Post previously reported.
On that issue, Lizzo blasted the state’s conservative politicians for being “all up in your uterus” — adding that “there are people in charge who can change things on a systemic level and they’re letting us down.”
“The abortion ban is atrocious,” she said. “Mind your business. Stay out of my body. This is not political.”
In a 2018 interview with the Guardian, the Houston-raised singer insisted she was not political — instead, she said, “My job is to emote and communicate and bop.” Nevertheless, she has frequently spoken out about racial injustice, women’s empowerment, voting and transgender rights.
During the 2019 Sacramento Pride festival, she stood onstage — sporting a sparkly hot-pink outfit — as people behind her held “trans rights” and “Black Lives Matter” posters.
“I want to take a second to say that Black lives matter. Trans lives matter. And if we’re going to celebrate Pride, then we need to keep that energy 365,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram profile.
The singer also made several political statements leading up to the 2020 presidential election. She donned sheer wings and a fly costume with “Vote” pins for Halloween — a nod to the moment a bug landed in Vice President Mike Pence’s hair during a debate. That week, she urged citizens to vote in an Instagram post of her hair sculpted into a “40%” figure — referring to the percentage of American nonvoters in 2016.
As people flocked to the polls on Nov. 3, 2020, Lizzo posted a photo of herself — right side draped in the American flag; left side nude except for a heeled shoe — expressing her hopes for the country’s future.
“I believe in a country that teaches the true history so we can better understand where we live and how we can do better,” she wrote. “I believe in a country that listens to the cries of the protester and doesn’t politicize death.”
Lizzo, during her SXSW appearance, promoted “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” her new reality competition series. An advocate for size representation and self-love, the singer urged the audience to repeat messages of empowerment.
“One more time, say it to yourself: ‘I love you. You are beautiful. And you can do anything,’” she said, eyes closed, fingers waving and voice raising.