Rapper Azealia Banks recently revealed her engagement on her Instagram. And in true fashion, she immediately turned what should be happy news into a complete and utter shitshow. Banks’ fiance, artist Ryder Ripps, who is Jewish, proposed to Banks using a ring featuring a menorah. So in the post’s caption she wrote “I’m Jewish now. MAZEL TOV B—-ES!” After someone commented to inform Banks of how Judaism works, she went on a transphobic rant that has literally nothing to do with the original critique.
“Well I try to tell the transgirls that getting castrated doesn’t automatically make them a female but if society can do mental gymnastics to lie and tell them that an eggless person who still produces semen is a woman and let them rock, you are all going to bend the rules to accept this newly black Jewish coochie. I’m Jewish now…you can’t stop me,” was her initial response.
There are so many things wrong with what Banks believes. First, it’s disrespectful to decide that because you fuck a Jewish man that you’re suddenly Jewish. You don’t become Jewish based on your proximity to the community. In subsequent comments, she argues with commenters, accusing them of racism because she is a Black woman who claims to be Jewish. There are Black people who are also Jewish, but chances are they were either born that way or converted. The only way you can become Jewish if it’s not by birth is to convert. My partner was born Jewish, but our relationship doesn’t make me Jewish. If she wants to convert to Judaism, she’s welcome to do so.
Secondly, biology and gender are two different things. Conflating the two has been the norm for far too long, and as we learn more, it’s clear how dangerous (and wrong) this thinking is. Trans women aren’t just “castrated” men. They are women, full stop. Especially because not all trans women can, or choose to, have gender affirming surgery. And by using her very large public platform to spew this kind of transphobic rhetoric, Banks is causing immense harm to the trans community. She is not the only person to subscribe to this line of thinking, which is bad enough. But people who do agree with her can use her words as a weapon against the trans community. Bigots have found alliance with Banks in her harmful, hateful beliefs.
The National Black Justice Coalition is calling for Instagram to remove Banks’ account over this latest tirade. A civil rights organization that is “dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people,” they are taking a stand to finally have Banks’ platform taken away.
“Azealia Banks’ latest transphobic tirade is yet another example of why she should be suspended from Instagram. Her attacks on trans people, while sadly predictable, contribute to the disproportionate violence that trans people face in the United States and around the world,” NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement.
“With at least seven of our trans siblings having already been murdered in the U.S. this year alone — we are on track for 2021 to be the most deadly year for transgender people on record. Violence against trans people is a national crisis — and Azealia Banks’ vitriolic remarks only make this growing crisis worse.”
Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being targeted. The fact that at least seven trans women have been killed, and the year isn’t even two months old, is terrifying. And when you have a woman like Azealia Banks out here running her mouth continuously about the community for no other reason than she can? She is perpetuating inter-community (Banks identifies as bisexual) harm in a very public way. And it’s not okay when at least 33 trans and gender nonconforming folks were killed in 2020. Black trans women are especially in danger, and to have a fellow Black woman devalue their lives is particularly infuriating.
Trashing the trans community seems to be Azealia Banks’ go-to. Her transphobic rants are always unprompted and come literally out of nowhere. She had her Twitter account suspended again in October 2020 after a transphobic rant. During a thread about who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine first, she suddenly turned on the trans community. The tweets are now deleted, but thanks to the magic of the internet, here is a sampling of some of the things she said.
“Cancel all these dumbass luxury transgender healthcare ‘rights’ and redirect the castration funds to the Latino farmers working to actually feed any of us through this crisis,” she tweeted.
And again, instead of actively listening to people who were trying to point out where she was wrong, she doubled down. How completely unsurprising.
“Who f—king cares. You hoes want free healthcare to pay for breast implants under the guise of body dysmorphia, but a cisgender woman can’t make the argument that she’s uncomfortable with the size of her breasts/face and ALSO get free luxury plastic surgery procedures?”
Clearly Azealia Banks is nothing more than a TERF who tries to pretend she’s an ally. Trans women’s existence has nothing to do with how cis women move through the world. Using that argument is tired and completely untrue. Notice it’s always TERFs that have an obsession with genitals. In almost every transphobic rant she goes on, it comes back to “castration” and chopping off a penis. First of all, that’s really deranged. Secondly, what actual harm does a trans woman cause her directly? Trans women aren’t taking any opportunities away from cis women! How many ways do we have to say it?
This is the thing. Azealia Banks isn’t the exception. She’s the fucking norm. And as long as she has a place to spew her transphobic beliefs, you better believe she will. It’s clear that no one will be able to change her mind. So the only option is to take away her platform.