More than 140 musicians, actors, writers, and other artists have signed an open letter taking a stand against pending anti-LGBT legislation in Texas, including a bill that woud restrict public restroom access for transgender people.
There are many famous names among the signatories, such as Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Cyndi Lauper, Tegan and Sara, Sting, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence, George Takei, Gloria Steinem, Alicia Keys, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Kimmel, and Britney Spears. The letter is an effort of Texas Together, a coalition formed to fight the anti-LGBT bills.
Posted online today, the letter notes the artists' regard for the people of Texas, the state's culture, and its contributions to the arts, but expresses concern about several pending bills and calls on lawmakers to reject them.
It particularly notes Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 1362, which would prohibit transgender students in public schools from using multi-stall restrooms that comport with their gender identity.
In addition, under the legislation, "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," reports the Austin American-Statesman. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called these measures his top legislative priority.
"Transgender and gender-nonconforming young people are already subjected to bullying and harassment," the artists write. "Can you imagine the message these bills send to children -- the message of 'that child is unwelcome, that child is dangerous'?"
The letter also mentions other proposed anti-LGBT bills, such as one that would override LGBT-inclusive municipal nondiscrimination ordinances. This measure and the restroom bill echo the primary provisions of North Carolina's House Bill 2, which has led to backlash and boycotts since it became law last year.
"It is up to you whether these bills will become law, and we are watching," the signatories tell Texas legislators. "It is up to us to commit to doing everything within our power to make sure all 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," they continue. "We humbly add our names to that proud tradition today, in asking you to end the needless targeting of LGBTQ people in Texas."