[gdlr_notification icon=”fa-flag” type=”color-background” background=”#ffcc20″ color=”#000000″]This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune[/gdlr_notification]
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
Singers and other artists including Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper and Alicia Keys have signed onto an open letter asking Texas lawmakers to stand down from passing Senate Bill 6 and other anti-LGBT legislation under consideration by the state Legislature. The letter was also signed by actors including Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Jimmy Kimmel, Ewan McGregor, George Takei and Amy Poehler.
“Please know that the creative community is watching Texas, with love for all of its people and for its contributions to music, art and culture,” the letter reads. “We are deeply troubled by the current legislation that would target the LGBTQ community in Texas.”
The letter singles out Senate Bill 6 — which would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools and government buildings based on “biological sex” and would override local laws that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity — and a similar measure, House Bill 1362. But it also mentions other legislation that advocates have flagged as discriminatory or harmful toward LGBT residents.
The letter, which includes some performers who are set to tour in Texas, comes as concerns about the measure, a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, continues to draw critics, particularly among the business community, which has cited the economic fallout that followed North Carolina’s passage of a similar measure last year. The law cost that state millions of dollars in cancellations of sports championships and concerts. Last week, the NFL suggested a Texas law could jeopardize the state hosting future championship games.
“It is up to you whether these bills will become law, and we are watching,” the letter reads. “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, where we go.”
In pushing the legislation, Patrick and bill author state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst have held that it’s intended to keep men from using women’s restrooms under the guise of being a transgender person. Opponents of the legislation argue there’s virtually no evidence that the legislation would increase privacy and safety in restrooms.
While representatives for Patrick did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Kolkhorst released a statement brushing off the letter and reiterating that the legislation is meant to guarantee “an expected level of privacy” in schools and government buildings.
“The bottom line is that men do not belong in women’s public restrooms,” Kolkhorst said. “And no amount of grandstanding from Hollywood will change that.”
The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
[gdlr_notification icon=”fa-camera” type=”color-background” background=”#999999″ color=”#ffffff”]Top image: Singer Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017. / photo credit: Robert Seale / REUTERS[/gdlr_notification]