Chely Wright, Ty Herndon and More Denounce Tennessee Transgender ‘Bathroom Bill’
Emmylou Harris, Chely Wright, Ty Herndon and others are speaking out against a proposed Tennessee state law that would affect transgender students at public schools and universities.
HB 2414 and SB 2387 would force transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identities. The controversial so-called "bathroom bill," which received approval in a House education committee on Thursday (April 7), is seeing new life after lawmakers decided to reconsider their decision to send it to summer study, according to the Tennessean. Supporters of the bill (consisting of the Alliance for Defending Freedom and the Family Action Council, among others) argue that giving transgender students the opportunity to use the bathroom of their choice puts others at risk of “bodily exposure” to members of the “opposite sex.”
On Friday (April 8), just two days after an open letter from major businesses such Viacom, Dow Chemical and Hewlett Packard opposed the bill, country artists began speaking out via the Human Rights Campaign.
"As an artist living and working in Nashville for more than 20 years, I know how hard it was to struggle for acceptance as a gay woman," says Wright, who came out in the spring of 2010. "The deck is stacked even higher against transgender students who face dramatically increased rates of bullying. This bill will send a devastating message to transgender youth that they are not welcome, included or valued."
Adds Herndon, who came out in November of 2014, "As a recording artist and resident of Tennessee, this matter breaks my heart." He states that he stands and joins with other supporters of equality who are asking Tennessee's officials to reject the legislation "that would harm and marginalize transgender children, already among our most vulnerable young people," noting that "discrimination is always wrong, but it’s particularly heartbreaking to see legislators considering terrible measures targeting, instead of supporting, our children."
According to Harris, "Those who love and make country music do so because at its best it speaks to the pain and suffering everyone shares in this life. Let's not make that life harder still for some, with this mean-spirited and unnecessary legislation."
Miley Cyrus as well as CMT have also spoken out against the bill and implored state lawmakers to reject the proposals.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, meanwhile, notes the detrimental effects such a law could have economically, saying that the passing of the bill could cost Nashville $58 million in direct visitor spending.
Country Stars Who Have Come Out