Having a conversation that involves someone who disagrees with you or critiques something that you say can be tough caca. Doing this in today’s social media age, where everyone has an opinion but not everyone expresses theirs tactfully, means it can be a hell of a lot harsher. Still, a recent exchange between Oakland-born singer Kehlani and her fans proves that not every dispute has to end with someone’s head being bitten off.
On Sunday, Kehlani tweeted about her sexual orientation and shared that she identifies as queer.
Earlier this week, the “You Should Be Here” singer who has been open about identifying as queer to her fans for years sparked a conversation among Twitter users about the different labels that fall into the LGBTQ+ rainbow when she tweeted about her sexual preferences once again.
In a now-deleted tweet, the R&B artist wrote, “cuz i keep geddin asked.. i’m queer. not bi, not straight. i’m attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non binary people, intersex people, trans people. lil poly pansexual papi hello good morning. does that answer your questions?”
Fans critiqued Kehlani’s definition of bisexuality, explaining that the orientation is not restricted only to a person’s attraction to cis men and women.
u can identify however u want ofc but when you say things like “not bi” then describe exactly the attraction a bi person feels it can make people who don’t really kno wht bi means think that nb and intersex people arent included in tht attraction
— lemony snicket (@Linawilso) April 22, 2018
One Twitter user started their response by pointing out Kehlani’s right to identify in any way that she wants to before going into an explanation of the importance of understanding why her definition of what bisexual means was off. After explaining that bisexuality denotes an attraction to both men and women, the same user went on to underline how excluding trans and intersex people from the category can falsely imply that these members of the LGBTQ+ are “other.”
But, instead of reacting to the user as if she was being attacked, Kehlani expressed her appreciation for the lesson.
ahhhh that makes HELLA SENSE!!!! i totally get it. wasn’t my intention at all but it’s so important! thank you for this!
— Kehlani (@Kehlani) April 23, 2018
Soon after the exchange Kehlani recanted her tweet and explained her decision to delete it, writing, “I retracted my queer tweet because I am being corrected about the way in which i listed the gender spectrum and i’m super super sensitive to being offensive especially when I’m only trying to appreciate. Point is, I love love, and that love lies in every gender there is,” she wrote. In a separate tweet, the singer went onto explain how she always wants “to be corrected & educated when I am wrong. If I tweet something any form of incorrect, please let me know because I have a massive responsibility by having a platform.”
The best part of this exchange, which users across Twitter continued to discuss well into Monday, is how receptive the artist is to being corrected on her word choice. Her openness is proof of the progress that can be made when you offer an open ear. Kehlani’s ability to listen is a great example of productive exchanges on opinions and thought.