Following the introduction of two bills into the state Legislature that would legally prohibit transgender Texans from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities, 142 artists — including Ewan McGregor, Amy Poehler, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Talib Kweli, Wilco and Whoopi Goldberg — have co-signed a letter beseeching the state senators and representatives to prevent the bills' passage.
"Transgender and gender non-conforming young people are already subjected to bullying and harassment," the letter reads. "Can you imagine the message these bills send to children — the message of 'that child is unwelcome, that child is dangerous?' "
In an interview with Billboard, producer and musician Jack Antonoff, who helped draft the letter, said that he wants the state "to know that me and all of my friends — all of these wonderful artists and actors and writers and designers — are watching Texas and are not OK with this happening."
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made the legislation a priority. In a note on the initiatives, he wrote that: "Legislation to protect women's privacy and business is essential to assure that sexual predators ... will not be able to freely enter women's restrooms, locker rooms or showers. ... "
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus voiced concern over the bill's economic impact on the state in an interview with Texas Monthly in mid-January, saying the state "should be very careful about doing something that would make Texas less competitive for investments, jobs, and the highly skilled workforce needed to compete."