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Jade Thirlwall has said that the north of England is “homophobic”.
The Little Mix star – who is from South Shields in the north east – made the comments during an appearance on Jessie Ware’s Table Manners podcast, stating that it was “really hard” to be an ally of LGBTQ+ people there.
Thirlwall added that she believes homophobic views are passed through the generations. She said: “If your granddad is being brought up to be homophobic then, of course, their son is going to then listen to that, and that toxic masculinity just seeps through each generation.”
The 28-year-old continued: “A lot of people are willing to listen, but they just don’t understand it because it’s passed through generations.”
Thirlwall described the attitudes of people in the north towards LGBTQ+ people as “more small-minded” and said many people possessed an “old-fashioned mentality”.
The singer – who is a vocal advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community – said that she was aware of such prejudiced views as a youngster.
“It was very like that growing up,” she said. “I sort of understood that it was wrong and I didn’t agree with it, but I didn’t know how to express that.”
The “Black Magic” singer added that she had many gay friends who felt unable to publicly express their sexuality, stating: “They’d have to move out of South Shields to feel like they could live somewhere where it’s going to be accepted.”
Little Mix’s first greatest hits album is set to be released on 12 November. As well as featuring fan favourite tracks such as “Wings” and “Power”, Between Us will also include five new songs from the girl group.
Between Us is Little Mix’s first release as a trio following the departure of Jesy Nelson.