Irish music icon and activist Sinéad O’Connor once gifted her clothes to a trans youth charity so young trans women could “enjoy being female”.
On Wednesday (26 July), O’Connor’s family announced in a statement that the “beloved” musician, best known for her instantly recognisable “Nothing Compares 2 U” video, had died at the age of 56. Police have confirmed they are not treating the singer’s death as suspicious.
As stars around the world come together to mourn the loss of a fearless woman who was never afraid to say what she felt needed to be said, LGBTQ+ people are also sharing the innumerable ways she supported the community.
In 1988 – one month after the passing of Margret Thatcher’s reviled Section 28 law, and 25 years before same-sex marriage would become legal in the England and Wales – O’Connor headlined a Pride event.
Another fierce moment of LGBTQ+ allyship came in 2017, when the “Mandinka” singer committed to giving away some of her clothes and makeup to young trans people in Ireland.
Sinéad O’Connor has died aged 56. (Getty)
“This is a message for Ireland’s transgender youth… I have recently relocated from Ireland to America as has my size from ten to somewhere between twelve and thirteen,” she wrote.
“Therefore I wish to donate my 30 [years] worth of gorgeous and ordinary clothing and (unused) makeup to an Irish organisation which provides clothing and make up for those youth (over 16) born ‘legally’ male who wish to enjoy being female.”
She also urged young trans men to seek out male clothes being given away, as “there’s an awful lot of clothing all over the world going to waste”.
It was a simple but impactful gesture, considering the importance of clothes for people navigating their gender identity journey.
While O’Connor expressed that she didn’t know of any organisation supporting the trans community in Ireland, GCN reported at the time that a fan in the comments suggested she send her clothes to the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).
Following the announcement of O’Connor’s death yesterday, one social media user confirmed that the singer did manage to get her clothes to TENI.
“Every Irish queer, woman and outcast is surely feeling Sinéad’s passing tonight,” wrote Toryn Caitriona Glavin on Twitter.
“Back in 2017 when I worked for TENI we got a call from her management asking could she donate her closet to us to as she was downsizing and wanted the clothes to go to trans folk in need. An icon.”
In a 2014 interview, Sinéad O’Connor – who also went by Shuhada Sadaqatalluded – revealed that she offered her support to the queer community because they inspired and empowered her.
“I actually find the whole gay community an enormous inspiration to me because, Jesus, I’ve never taken the kind of shit gay people take,” she said, revealing that her first experience with the queer community was at London’s Hippodrome Nightclub & Disco.
In terms of her own sexuality, O’Connor was an ardent advocate for fluidity. While she once explained that she was “three-quarters heterosexual, a quarter gay”, she expressed that it was inaccurate to refer to her as bisexual, as she didn’t “believe in labels of any kind”.