VIDEO: Glee Project’s Dani Shay Sings “Girl or Boy?” For All Ye Gender Policers Out There

Internet mini-sensation Dani Shay, who is not only often mistaken for a boy but frequently mistaken for a specific boy named Jason Bieber, said her goodbyes to The Glee Project last week but remains a steadfast cast member of Your Heart’s Project. Last week she put out a new track on her YouTube channel called “Girl or Boy?”, inspired by the question she’s been asked by strangers all her life – “are you a girl or a boy?”

dani shay

Shay says she’s noticed fans jumping in to defend her when ignorant Fans-of-the-Binary ask questions or make backhanded comments about her gender, but that it actually doesn’t bother her:

“I want you to know that i welcome those questions and comments because I hope that I am causing people to question what does it mean to be a girl? What does it mean to be a boy, beyond just the biological definitions of female and male, why do we think that girls are supposed to be this way and boys are supposed to be this way?”

Here’s the song!

If The Glee Project wasn’t an insufferable television program responsible for bringing Teen Jesus and Irish Breakfast into our lives, we’d be writing about it this season because in addition to featuring Shay (who also ranked 48th in the 2011 America’s Got Talent competition), the reality show’s second season also features a transgender contestant, Tyler! 

Prior to Shay’s tenure on reality television, she got a lot of internet buzz for “What the Hell,” her musical response to being constantly mistaken for Justin Bieber, to the tune of “Baby Baby Baby”:

What are your feelings regarding Dani Shay or any feelings about The Glee Project we’ve not yet provided a space for you to discuss?  I found this very interesting.

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Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

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30 Comments

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    My sound isn’t working atm so while I’m sure this song is great and she’s adorable, some of the worst gender policing I’ve seen is from within the community that I’m only noticing atm because I’m finally getting involved. At least where I live, there seems to be room for femme and butch, but you’re not allowed to alternate between the two or be a bit of both, and people treat you so differently depending on how you look. I know its not the same thing but still, I’m feeling a bit lost atm :S

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      …”some of the worst gender policing I’ve seen is from within the community…”

      Oh wow, this can be very true. Don’t let it discourage you. Being trans is hard and some of us internalize a lot of nasty things and, unfortunately, we frequently pull each other in to those bullshit thought processes. It’s a process for us to be good to one another.

      Message me sometime if you feel like it!

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    I made the mistake of playing that first video while my two-year-old niece was running around watching cartoons — she immediately stopped, watched the whole thing, and made me play it like four more times. Now she’s singing and dancing along with it.

    Dani Shay might have just made the cutest fan ever.

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    I am in love with Dani Shay, and I have been for over a year. She’s just got such a great voice and she’s so adorable. I think she’s making this world a better place through social queering and amazing music :D

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    That song is very cool! I can’t stand Justin Bieber, but I like her a lot. I love her smile.

    And while I find it really cool that they’ve had Dani and Tyler on it, I doubt I’d ever watch Glee Project.

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    I don’t know anything about The Glee Project and had never heard of her, but she’s definitely adorable! Oh yeah, and I like her song too. An important message delivered as a catchy song is definitely a good thing. :-)

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    Wait, so, there’s no room to comment on the Jezebel link that was posted to this article, but I have to ask what the problem is with having a bunch of kids who wouldn’t normally be represented on TV shown on this show…why are people upset about it? I guess I disagree with the idea that the “differentness” of the kids is “fetishized.” Okay, so there’s “the kid in the wheelchair,” “the blind kid,” “the trans* kid,” “the lesbian who looks like Justin Bieber.” And I understand people’s reaction when they say that The Glee Project doesn’t look beyond that one thing about each of them to show us how they’re unique in other ways. But while that’s problematic, there’s also “the kid who sings country music,” “the funny one,” and then a bunch of kids who are gonna get crap for “not knowing who they are.” The problem with the show to me is that the kids on it are always forced to figure out one component of themselves that could make an audience relate to them and then play that up. So while it’s not ideal to have kids’ disability or your identity be the thing that The Glee Project is selling about them, I see it more as a component of the show than fetishizing or tokenizing. Everyone’s a token.

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    I have fallen in love with her and she was the only reason I was watching the glee project, I was so mad when she got kicked off. I think she was too good for the show but I miss seeing her on my tv she is just so talented and beautiful and that smile makes me melt.

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    So I’m sure she would hate me for saying this since she already gets so much shit about looking like Justin Bieber (or should I say Jason Bieber haha), but in this video she reminds me of Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry.

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    She’s so cute here! Not that she wasn’t on the Glee Project, but she seems much more androgynous and adorable here. I blame the show for how they edited, or something.

    I really wonder how Dani and Tyler got along on the show; they never showed much of their interaction.

  10. Thumb up 0

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    I get the “boy or girl” question from little kids all the time (and sometimes they’re not so little!). And their parents always get so embarrassed and sometimes try to act like their kid said something else (“Is that a boy?” “No we’ll have a snack later, Susan”) but I ALWAYS KNOW haha. I just laugh because Dani Shay is right, it’s good to have these things questioned and to make people take a second look. Sometimes confusion is a good thing. It leads to deeper thought.

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