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How Nissan, Kia and Mount Gay Rum got caught up promoting a trans hate song

Written by gaytourism

The 2016 Pic-o-de-Crop festival in Barbardos. | Photo: YouTube

A song called ‘Sex Change’ become the latest way for haters to attack LGBTI people in Barbados.

Artist, Billboard, released their song ‘Sex Change’ this summer. The song denies the existence of trans people, while Billboard sings ‘you can’t change your sex’. In many ways, it’s like Jamaica’s anti-gay ‘murder-music’, which is sadly very popular across the Caribbean.

It’s rising fast in the charts. And it comes at a time when the Crop Over and Kadooment festivities are taking place in Barbados. These are major highlights of summer in the Caribbean.

Sex Change says we’re ‘An insult to God’

‘Sex Change’ has made it to the semi-finals of Pic-O-De-Crop calypso competition, which is a main attraction of the festivities.

This competition is one of the most popular avenues for any local singer to advance their work throughout the Caribbean region. So this song will extend far beyond the shores of Barbados.

Billboard’s song has a particularly unpleasant post on YouTube. The YouTube video caption reads: ‘It’s an insult to GOD to say that HE made you INCORRECTLY. You ARE whatever sex GOD designed you to be. Anything else is MADNESS!’

It is not only private promoters who are pushing this song. The Barbados government is also supporting it. The government-run National Cultural Foundation organizes Pic-O-De-Crop.

Moreover, big name brands, are also helping it get air-time. The local dealer for Nissan and Kia cars are sponsoring the event, as well as the brewers of Mount Gay Rum.

‘So stop the disgrace, know your place’

I am an openly trans woman living in Barbados. I’ve been in transition for the last five years and simply want to integrate with society as I have seen myself since early childhood.

So to say that this song is problematic is a gross understatement. Every time the song plays, there are uncensored remarks about ‘chopping off your balls’ and how ‘no matter who you want to impress, [a trans man] will never have a real penis’.

What I find most personally disturbing is Billboard saying that gender affirming transitions are a waste of time. He says they are affronting our own dignity as well as the dominantly Christian society of Barbados. He sings: ‘So stop the disgrace, know your place and do not fly in God’s face!’

Attitudes in Barbados fuel violence against LGBTIs

Right now, the song seems to be following me everywhere I go. I hear it on the radio at work, on the bus, or just strolling through a supermarket. It’s very unsettling for me to know this song has attracted such favour with the public as to be well on its way to becoming a number one hit for the 2018 Crop Over season.

And, of course, it’s more than just a song. It reflects attitudes that exclude us trans people from getting meaningful employment, proper housing, access adequate healthcare, or even receive police protection when we are subjected to violence.

This is not just a hypothetical problem for me. Earlier this year the police were slow to respond when an ex-tenant savagely attacked me with a meat cleaver. One officer admitted to me: ‘[Police] don’t want to deal with people like you.’

‘We need some “try-a-dick” medication for this lesbian!’

The saddest part for me is that any opposition to this song appears to go unheard or is altogether dismissed.

During a recent performance, a lesbian confronted Billboard and the promoters. She said how the song made her feel.

In response, the Master of Ceremonies, also a woman, shouted to the audience: ‘Is there a doctor in the house? We need some “try-a-dick” medication for this lesbian!’

Barbados wants to be seen as a modern country. So I hope the Barbadian government will act. They must immediately remove Billboard’s song from the Pic-O-De-Crop competition.

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