This Week on LGBTQ Twitter: Is Kendrick Lamar a trans ally?

Kendrick Lamar
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Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar is making waves with the track “Auntie Diaries” off his recently released album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers for speaking about his personal journey to understand and accept his transgender relatives.

But there’s little consensus about whether the song, which includes multiple references to “faggot,” and uses the wrong names and pronouns for Lamar’s trans family members, is a sign of progress.

Related: Jimmy Fallon’s musical guest on “The Tonight Show” wore a shirt honoring a murdered trans woman

The song includes the following lyrics:

“My auntie is a man now / I think I’m old enough to understand now / Drinking Paul Masson with her hat turned backwards / Back when it was comedic relief to say ‘faggot’ / faggot, faggot, faggot, we ain’t know no better / Elementary kids with no filter, however / My auntie became a man and I took pride in it / She wasn’t gay, she ate pussy, and that was the difference / That’s what I told my friends in second grade / She picking me up from school, they stare at her in the face.”

Raquel Willis expressed her disappointment, asking: “Why must you always push a boundary with us and expect us to be grateful?”

Preston Mitchum acknowledged that he was thrown off by Lamar’s use of the “f-word,” but pointed out that the rapper seemed to demonstrate self-awareness about why it’s not his word to use.

The song ends with a comparison between anti-gay and anti-Black slurs, and who gets to use them.

“I said them F-bombs, I ain’t know any better / Mistakenly I didn’t think you’d know any different / See, I was taught words was nothing more than a sound / If everything was pronounced without any intentions / If every second you challenge the shit I was kicking / Reminded me about a show I did out the city / That time I brung a fan on stage to rap / But disapproved the word that she couldn’t say with me / You said “Kendrick, ain’t no room for contradiction / To truly understand love, switch position / ‘Faggot, faggot, faggot,’ we can say it together / But only if you let a white girl say ‘Nigga'”
Others broke the song down line by line to analyze how the lyrics reflect different points in Lamar’s young life, and shouldn’t be taken as an indication of where he’s at now.

The debate over the impact of “Auntie Diaries” serves as a reminder of just how low the bar can be for LGBTQ allyship and how complicated it can be to commend progress that feels insufficient. But it also seems like a symbol for where we are at right now in the struggle for LGBTQ rights.

Other examples of news giving “Are we supposed to be grateful for this?” include the recent ruling in Texas.

The good news: The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is not bound by the actions of the governor and attorney general regarding investigating gender-affirming care as child abuse. The bad news: The judge didn’t say they couldn’t follow that guidance, except with regard to the litigating parties.

Many families with the means are still preparing to flee. (Bad news.)

But some states are working to enact legislation to support families seeking refuge from transphobia. (Good news.)

With all the recent anti-LGBTQ legislation at the state level, many folks are preparing to take a more critical look at companies slapping rainbows on their logos in honor of Pride season.

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