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Elton John Stands Up For Trans Rights, Criticizes N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Elton John Stands Up For Trans Rights, Criticizes N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory


In a commentary, the singer wrote that McCrory signed North Carolina's discriminatory law HB 2, "after admitting he had never met a transgender person."

Legendary singer and gay icon Sir Elton John spoke out Tuesday against North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2, which restricts transgender people from using public restrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

John asked American elected officials to recognize the concerns of all people, including transgender individuals, in a commentary for The Hill. He called the North Carolina law a "brand of ignorance" that "shuts out the perspective of an already marginalized community" and expressed concern over similarly bigoted legislation introduced in other states.

While John mentioned the "millions of taxpayers dollars" wasted in defending the law, above all, he called North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's discriminatory law "a failure of compassion."

"Forcing transgender people to use the bathroom of a gender with which they don't identify isn't just inconvenient or impractical. For many, especially young students still grappling with their transition, it can be traumatic, and at worst, unsafe," he wrote.

In addition to denying rights to transgender people, HB 2 also voids all anti-discrimination ordinances passed in North Carolina, some of which protected LGBT people. "Stigma and shame drive some of the biggest problems facing society's most marginalized populations," John wrote, linking the struggles of LGBT people with the struggles of racial minorities and others who are perceived as different. "An unacceptably high percentage of LGBT teens are severely bullied. Only 30 percent of Americans with HIV reach viral suppression, many too ashamed to seek appropriate care. The transgender homicide rate is at an all-time high, driven by fear and prejudice."

Legislators must listen to the concerns of all constituents, emphasized John in his commentary. "To address these problems, our leaders must first acknowledge their existence, as well as the existence of the people affected. And yes, that starts with bathrooms."

Citing a positive legal outcome, John mentioned the work of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who vetoed controversial bathroom legislation in his state. John wrote that Daugaard had never met a transgender person before the legislation was introduced, but decided not to sign the law after meeting with transgender activists. The South Dakota Gov. credited those meetings with presenting him with a new perspective. "I heard their personal stories," said Gov. Daugaard, "and I saw things through their eyes in that sense."

John suggested lawmakers take Daugaard's lead and "reverse course," recognize "that all people have a fundamental desire -- and a fundamental right -- to be treated fairly."

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