GLAAD, in partnership with Equality Texas, The Ally Coalition, and leading artists, entertainers, and influencers, today released an open letter with more than 140 signatures opposing bills that threaten harm to the LGBTQ community in the Lone Star State. The diverse range of signatories addressed the letter to leaders in Texas, urging they oppose Senate Bill 6 (SB 6) and House Bill 1362 (HB 1362), two harmful pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation on the table in the state right now.
Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Gloria Steinem, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lawrence, Sia, Troye Sivan, Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Antanoff, Julianne Moore, Laverne Cox, Tegan and Sara, Amy Poehler, Britney Spears, Kesha, Laura Jane Grace, Natalie Maines, Connie Britton, Juanes, Padma Lakshmi, Ross Mathews, Sarah Jaffe, Sara Ramirez, Tatiana Maslany, and Zoe Kravitz are just a few of the many signatories opposing these bills. Notable leaders from across industries, backgrounds, and identities—including numerous Texas-based artists and LGBTQ entertainers—have added their names to speak out against discrimination and hate.
“The public outcry by musicians and influencers against upcoming anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas should have lawmakers taking note,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “By adding their voices to the chorus of fair-minded people calling for equality, these artists are using their platforms to speak out and send the resounding message that discrimination is not an American value.”
SB 6, which is similar to the widely-covered HB 2 in North Carolina, bans local governments from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances that protect transgender people, or from requiring companies with city contracts from having similar protections. It also restricts restroom and locker room access for transgender people in government buildings, public schools and universities. HB 1362 targets transgender Texans, particularly students, by preventing any state or local government agency from passing or enforcing gender-identity inclusive public accommodation laws or policies in public schools or private businesses.
The letter reads, in part:
Transgender and gender non-conforming 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?” Transgender and gender non-conforming young people also 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?
In the midst of the anti-LGBTQ legislative battles in states across the country in 2016, GLAAD joined with Nielsen and The Harris Poll to measure the impact of muscians speaking out. Musician protests, the poll found, were considered the most effective avenue when it came to raising awareness around LGBTQ issues, with 60% of respondents citing it as such. In addition, 64% of respondents cited Bruce Springsteen as a significantly influential musician, indicating that his decision to cancel a concert in North Carolina to protest the state’s harmful anti-LGBT law was a major factor in the chain reaction of cancellations the state experienced in its wake, even reaching beyond music.
The Harris Poll findings also showed that artists who protested discriminatory legislation had the support of a majority of Americans, with 60% saying they supported artists who speak up about LGBTQ equality, 51% citing concert cancellations as an effective form of protest, and 50% saying they would attend a concert at another venue if an artist cancelled a show in protest. Western states were 23% more likely to listen to artists that protest and over 70% of American said they would be more or equally likely to attend an artist’s concerts, support artists, buy an artist’s albums, and listen to an artist’s music if the musician is standing against anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Check out the full letter released today and the list of signatories:
- Using #TXtogether, share the letter on social media to stand with LGBTQ Texans & oppose discrimination
If you are a Texan, submit your own letter to Texas leaders opposing discrimination
Visit txtogether.org for more ways to stand with LGBTQ Texans
Check out GLAAD’s Southern Stories: A Guide for Reporting on LGBT People In Texas to learn more