Boy George has denied being transphobic after mocking people whose gender pronouns differ from the norm.
In a flurry of tweets posted over two days, the Culture Club singer branded preferred pronouns a "modern form of attention seeking" and joked that he wanted to be referred to a "Napoleon".
Many people, both cisgender and transgender, often include their preferred pronouns in social media bios and email signatures as an easy way of normalising gender diversity and breaking the stigma that still surrounds it.
Leave your pronoun's at the door!— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) January 6, 2020
An initial tweet posted by George on Sunday (6 January) urging people to "leave your pronoun's at the door [sic]" quickly drew criticism from fans, one of whom asked in a now-deleted tweet: "Do you know what the f**k pronouns are?"
A modern form of attention seeking? https://t.co/9Qs9DyJ92F— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) January 6, 2020
Apparently failing to see the irony of his own gendered stage name, Boy George replied: "A modern form of attention seeking?"
As another follower said his comments sounded "quite ridiculous", the 'Karma Chameleon' singer replied: "You must refer to me as 'Napoleon' and that's as ridiculous as it gets! I used the ladies toilet throughout the 80s."
You must refer to me as 'Napoleon' and that's as ridiculous as it gets! I used the ladies toilet throughout the 80s! https://t.co/liApEekeyV— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) January 6, 2020
One followers asked: "What does it take to show others respect by using their preferred pronouns?", prompting George to resond: "Thanks for that, but I have eyes and can mostly describe what I see!"
As criticism grew, George took to Twitter a day later to deny claims he was transphobic, tweeting "There’s nothing ‘phobic’ about Miss Boy George! Nish! Nada!
In a reply to a diappointed fan, he wrote: "I actually show great respect to people. Always have. I have also made mistakes."
The star later uploaded a video of himself sporting false eyelashes and make-up, telling viewers: "I'm loving that you can choose bigger eyelashes, because I'm really 'phobic", look at me", he said sarcastically.
"Years of 'phobia. As if! You're ridiculous, people."
A spokesperson for Boy George later tols Pink News: "The concept of […] asking whether Boy George is transphobic is so stupid it doesn’t warrant a response."