Country stars Maren Morris and Cassadee Pope called out Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany Aldean, on social media for comments she made on Instagram.
On Aug. 23, Aldean posted a short video on Instagram showing her makeup look. In the caption, she wrote, “I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life.”
Pope — who won season three of “The Voice” — seemingly responded to Aldean’s caption on Twitter several days later without mentioning her name.
“You’d think celebs with beauty brands would see the positives in including LGBTQ+ people in their messaging,” Pope tweeted on Friday, Aug. 26, alluding to Brittany Aldean’s clip-in hair extension brand, Xo Britt. “But instead here we are, hearing someone compare their ‘tomboy phase’ to someone wanting to transition. Real nice.”
The “Wasting All These Tears” singer shared the same message on her Instagram story.
Morris replied to Pope’s tweet, adding, “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.”
Aldean addressed Pope and Morris on her Instagram story, sharing several frames responding to their comments directly.
“The other day Memphis wanted to be a dinosaur and tomorrow Navy will want to be a cat,” she said, referring to her two children. “They’re children. Some parents want to be accepted by society so badly, that they’re willing to make life-altering decisions for their children who aren’t old enough to fully comprehend the consequences of those actions.”
She added, “Love is protecting your child until they are mature enough as an adult to make their own life decisions. Thankful my parents allowed me to go through my tom boy phase without changing my gender.”
In another frame, she posted a list sharing the minimum legal ages for several activities, including the age to drive, to vote and to drink alcohol before adding, “Age to take life altering hormone blocks and/or irreversible surgery — a child can choose?”
LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD reports that there are several elements to transitioning that align with gendering-affirming care. These include: a social transition where one comes out to their family, friends and colleagues and changes the way they present themselves, a legal transition where their name and sex is changed on official documents, and a medical transition, which typically entails hormone replacement therapy and surgical procedures.
“Gender-affirming care can be basically anything that affirms someone’s gender identity,” Dr. Juanita Kay Hodax, co-director of the Gender Clinic at Seattle Children’s, told TODAY in June 2022. “Whether that is using the right names or pronouns that a person identifies with or supporting somebody with social groups and social transitions and the way they dress — that is considered gender affirming. We have options for different medical care, like hormones and puberty blockers.”
A common myth Hodax acknowledged is how gender-affirming care is handled in pediatrics. Hodax explained, “One misconception that I often hear is that we are starting really young kids on hormones and doing surgery on young kids. That’s just not what’s happening.”
“We use puberty blockers, which don’t have permanent physical changes to the body. It’s not until teenager years, like mid-teenage years, that most clinics will start things like hormones like testosterone or estrogen that can have more permanent changes to the body,” Hodax said, later adding, that a majority of gender-affirming surgeries “aren’t happening until after 18.”
According to NBC News, more than 240 anti-LGBTQ bills had been filed in the first half of 2022. The slate of legislation includes measures that would restrict LGBTQ issues in school curriculums, permit religious exemptions to discriminate against LGBTQ people and limit trans people’s ability to receive gender-affirming health care.
“One misconception folks get wrong about trans kids is that when trans kids come out, they’re really only undergoing a social transition and socially transitioning means cutting your hair, going by a different name, wearing different clothes,” Adri Perez, policy and advocacy strategist for LGBTQ equality of the Texas ACLU, told TODAY in June. “These medical transitions don’t happen until much later and beyond that, there’s also ways to legally transition by changing your name. So these decisions, it’s a gradual journey and process.”
On Friday, Aug. 26, Morris addressed the controversy on her Instagram story, sharing several clips talking to the camera to thank fans for being “so supportive” of her and Pope.
“I will say, we can handle this s--t, we’ve dealt with idiots for years saying insanely stupid stuff at us, but I would check on your trans friends, check on your gay friends, anyone that is in country music and had to look at that bulls--t today and feel subhuman,” she said.
Morris reiterated that she and Pope are “good,” adding, “It was just like eh, I didn’t really think I woke up and chose violence today, I was just so sick of looking at absolute horses--t on the internet and people getting away with it, much less being celebrated for it.”
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Morris’ husband, Ryan Hurd, defended his wife for speaking up.
“Scoring quick points by picking on trans kids isn’t something that is brave at all,” Hurd wrote in a series of tweets. “And I’m proud of Maren for sticking up for them… Shut up and sing only applies to those who you disagree with… Getting a lot of people telling me our career is over, as if the last time she spoke up about something it disappeared. Honestly, we’re pretty ok over here. Tours are good, got a 2-year-old we love, we’re fucking fine, and I promise she isn’t going to shut up now.”
On Saturday, Morris responded to a Twitter user who told her and Pope to keep their noses out of politics.
“Lots of confusing, public fighting & jabs in the CMA world right now between women over politics,” wrote the commenter, tagging the two singers. “There are, from what we’ve always known, enough obstacles for all the ladies in country music. Maybe put down the phone & focus on the guitar. Just sayin’.”
Morris responded: “If it’s confusing to you, it’s because you think we’re ‘fighting’ over politics. We’re not. This isn’t political. We’re calling someone out for being transphobic and thinking it’s hilarious. It isn’t.”