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Lil Nas X raises money for LGBTQ nonprofits with a 'baby registry'

The rapper said he will welcome his "little bundle of joy" — his debut album, "Montero" — Sept. 17 and asked fans to donate to charities.
Image: Lil Nas X performs on Jan. 23, 2020 in Los Angeles.
Lil Nas X performs on Jan. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles.Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for Spotify file

Lil Nas X is raising money for LGBTQ and human rights nonprofit organizations ahead of the arrival of his debut album, "Montero."

The rapper tweeted a link to a "baby registry" Tuesday to welcome the album, which debuts Sept. 17. The registry shows a list of songs that will appear on the album. Next to each of the 15 track names is the name of a grassroots nonprofit group with a button that allows users to donate directly to the organization.

Since announcing the release date for the album last month, Lil Nas X shared a series of pregnancy-themed photos on Instagram.

In the first photo, he dressed in all white and wore a flower crown and a pregnancy belly.

"SURPRISE! I can’t believe i’m finally announcing this. My little bundle of joy 'MONTERO' is due September 17, 2021," he captioned the image.

He's continued to share pregnancy-themed photos, writing "12 MORE DAYS UNTIL BABY MONTERO ARRIVES" in the caption of a photo posted Sunday.

The rapper kept the theme going with the baby registry he shared Tuesday.

The title track of the album, "Montero," is paired with the Transinclusive Group, an organization based in South Florida that is led by Black trans people and provides resources for trans and gender-nonconforming people of color.

Tatiana Williams, the group's co-founder and executive director, said the trans and gender-nonconforming community is suffering right now, in part due to the pandemic, and she hopes other celebrities and people with power take note of how Lil Nas X has stepped up to help.

"For him to utilize his platform to uplift and raise funds for these organizations is an example of what it looks like to leverage your access to be able to help the marginalized," she said. "I'm hoping that other people that are in his position and that have the ability to do that will follow his lead."

Arianna's Center — listed next to the track "Dolla Sign Slime," featuring Megan Thee Stallion — also supports the trans community of South Florida, but with a "special emphasis on the most marginalized, including the Trans Latinx community, undocumented immigrants, people living with HIV and AIDS, and those who have experienced incarceration," according to its website.

Next to the track "Tales of Dominica" is Thrive SS, an Atlanta-based organization that supports Black gay men living with HIV.

The last track on the album, "Am I Dreaming," featuring Miley Cyrus, is paired with Happy Hippie, an organization founded by Cyrus that fights "injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations," its website said.

Lil Nas X wrote a personal message on the website for The Bail Project, another group featured on the baby registry that fights to end cash bail.

"Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance," he wrote. "But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail."

Fans on Twitter told Lil Nas X that he is "a beautiful human being" for creating the registry and for centering small, local organizations that are often underfunded.

Though Lil Nas X is receiving overwhelming support for the registry, his pregnancy photoshoot has left fans divided.

Some fans said the rapper's fake pregnancy photos, which are being used to promote his album, ignore the lived experiences of transgender men, who can face medical discrimination and harassment when they are pregnant.

Danny Wakefield, a nonbinary person who is known on Instagram as @dannythetransdad, wrote in a post Sunday that "it feels transphobic to see my identity being used as a shock factor or to make a point."

Lil Nas X is "profiting off of a portrait that in real life, gets you rejected and mistreated by the healthcare system and ridiculed by mainstream society, and that’s coming from someone who has white and cis male passing privilege," they wrote.

Other trans people said the photoshoot provided important visibility for transmasculine people who can become pregnant.

Some said the rapper's timing was poor: He shared the photos just after a Texas law banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy took effect.

Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer, during an Instagram Live about the photos on Sunday said Lil Nas X can take off his pregnant belly at any moment, while pregnant people in Texas have lost the ability to make decisions about their own pregnancies.

"We don't get to step out of our trans bodies. We don't get to discard our uterus in the same way — and our pregnancies," Bailar said.

Kaden Coleman, a Black trans advocate who shared photos of his own pregnancy and participated in Bailar's Instagram Live, agreed, but he said Lil Nas X probably didn't know that Texas' abortion law would take effect when he planned the photoshoot.

He and other advocates also said the criticism Lil Nas X has faced is racist. Some pointed to YouTube makeup artist James Charles, who they said didn't face the same criticism when he shared a similar photo in February.

Coleman said photoshoots like Lil Nas X's can be transphobic, but it has started important conversations about male pregnancy. He said a cisgender man commented on one of his Instagram photos recently and told him he needed "to seek professional help because men do not have uteruses."

"And I was like, 'Well this man does,'" Coleman said. "These are the conversations that need to happen. The fact that people are so adamant about male pregnancy not being a thing is problematic, and it’s causing a lot of trauma to our trans masculine folks, especially in medical spaces."

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