Hayley Kiyoko Calls Rita Ora’s “Girls” Harmful To LGBTQ+ Community

When Katy Perry released “I Kissed A Girl” back in 2008, the song faced a lot of criticism for its problematic treatment of bisexuality. Today, Rita Ora teamed up with Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX to release the would-be bi-curiosity anthem “Girls,” in which she sings, “Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls/ Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.” In a new interview with People, Ora says that “Girls” was inspired in part by “I Kissed A Girl,” which she calls “one of my favorite songs.” And now, “Girls” is facing similar criticism.

Openly gay Disney Channel alum and pop star Hayley Kiyoko, who is affectionately referred to by fans as “Lesbian Jesus,” has taken to Twitter to critique the song. “Ever so often there come certain song with messaging that is just downright tone-deaf, which does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community,” she writes. “A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women … I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life. This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community.” Read Kiyoko’s full message below.

It’s important for us artists to use our platforms to move the cultural needle forward, not backwards. There is a new song that came out today featuring a handful of well-known pop artists that has me overwhelmed with thoughts. I literally have a knot in my stomach right now. To be clear, I fully support other artists who freely express themselves and applaud male and female artists who are opening up more and more about their sexual identities.

But ever so often there come certain song with messaging that is just downright tone-deaf, which does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community. A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women.

I know this wasn’t the intention of the artists on the song, but its the lack of consideration behind these lyrics that really get me. I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life. This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community. I feel I have a responsibility to protect that whenever possible.

We can and should do better.

UPDATE: Kehlani and MUNA’s Katie Gavin have joined Hayley Kiyoko in criticizing the song.

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