Cyndi Lauper, George Takei, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys are among over 100 entertainers who have signed off on a letter urging Texas lawmakers to go against the so-called "bathroom bill" currently up for debate in the Texas Legislature.
The bill, backed by lawmakers that include Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, is said to keep predators from abusing local laws that allow transgender people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. While supporters say the bill is about protecting privacy, opponents argue it discriminates against transgender people.
That sentiment was echoed by the entertainers listed at the end of the letter sent to lawmakers.
"Transgender and gender non-conforming young people are already subjected to bullying an harassment," the letter read. "Can you imagine the message these bills send to children -- the message of 'that child is unwelcome, that child is dangerous?'"
The Texas Association of Business has already come out against this and other bills they call "discriminatory."
If the same fall-out that North Carolina has experienced from their "bathroom bill" happens in Texas, experts estimate the state stands to lose some $8.5 billion -- a loss of 185,000 jobs.
The letter, sent on Valentine's Day, was posted on a web page entitled, "The Creative Community Against Anti-LGBT Legislation in Texas." The text of the letter is below.
February 14, 2017
Dear Texas Leaders,
Please know that the creative community is watching Texas, with love for all its people and for its contributions to music, art, and culture. We love Texas and its people so much. Among us, we have spent time in countless towns and cities across the state. For many of us, performing in Texas for the first time has been a life-altering experience. We are amazed by the state’s culture and community.
We are also deeply troubled by the current legislation that would target the LGBTQ community in Texas.
Texas Senate Bill 6 (SB6) and House Bill 1362 (HB1362) would criminalize and restrict the simple act of a transgender person using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity – a denial of basic human dignity. Other legislation being considered in Texas would force teachers to out LGBTQ students to their parents – a violation of the trust built between kids and educators. Still more bills in the works would strip Texas cities of their LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, undermine marriage equality, or legalize discrimination on campuses and in public life. Bills like these are poison, a barrier between Texas and its future.
Transgender and gender non-conforming young people are already subjected to bullying and harassment. Can you imagine the message these bills sent to children – the message of “that child is unwelcome, that child is dangerous?” Transgender and gender non-conforming young people already face higher rates of family rejection and homelessness, mental health issues and suicidality, and they already are more likely to be denied work and housing. How much more can you punish them for living honestly and openly?
It is up to you whether these bills become law, and we are watching. It is up to us to commit to doing everything within our power to make sure all of our fans, crews, and fellow artists feel safe and welcome, wherever we go.
Artistic expression has always been a political act, and some of the most venerated 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.
GO HERE to read the letter and see the list of signees.