Almost 140 entertainers sent an open letter urging Texas to reject legislation that would strike down transgender-friendly bathroom policies in public schools, government buildings and city ordinances.
The letter, released Tuesday, said the artists had a responsibility to do “everything within our power to make sure all of our fans, crews, and fellow artists feel safe and welcome, wherever we go.”
“It is up to you whether these bills will become law, and we are watching,” said the letter, signed by musicians including Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, Kesha and Lady Gaga, as well as actors Amy Poehler, Emma Stone, Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore.
“Artistic expression has always been a political act, and some of the most venerate artists in our history have put themselves on the line to take a stand against injustice. We humbly add our names to that proud tradition today, in asking you to end the needless targeting of LGBTQ people in Texas,” the letter said.
Senate Bill 6 and a similar measure, House Bill 1362, would prohibit public schools from allowing transgender children to use multi-stall bathrooms that conform with their gender identity. State government buildings would be barred from creating transgender-friendly bathrooms, and cities and counties would be prohibited from requiring bathrooms that accommodate transgender individuals.
The fight over the bills been heating steadily, with leading Texas businesses warning that passage would tarnish the state’s welcoming climate for businesses — prompting boycotts from entertainers, sports leagues and travelers while discouraging some corporations from relocating or expanding in the state.
Last week, clergy members gathered in competing Austin forums to support and oppose the legislation, which is a priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Patrick and other supporters say economic concerns are overblown and insist that SB 6 is required to protect privacy and promote safety in bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms — places where people are at their most vulnerable.
Echoing other opponents, the entertainers who signed Tuesday’s open letter to Texas said such concerns are misguided because transgender people are most at risk.
“Transgender and gender-nonconforming young people are already subjected to bullying and harassment. Can you imagine the message these bills send to children — the message of ‘that child is unwelcome, that child is dangerous’?”
Young transgender people already face high rates of family rejection, homelessness and suicide, the entertainers wrote. “How much more can you punish them for living honestly and openly?”
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