A group of nearly 150 artists, actors, and musicians have joined together to stand against Texas' recent efforts to limit LGBTQ rights.
Calling themselves "The Creative Community Against Anti-LGBTQ Legislation In Texas," the coalition includes A-list musicians like Lady Gaga, Amy Schumer, and Ariana Grande, as well as Hollywood superstars like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Ewan McGregor. Together, they have signed an open letter to Texas state leaders, urging them to reject a series of proposed laws which single out the LGBTQ community, similar to North Carolina's HB2.
"Texas Senate Bill 6 (SB6) and House Bill 1362 (HB1362) would criminalize and restrict the simple act of a transgender person using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity—a denial of basic human dignity," the letter states. It goes on to describe these bills as "poison, a barrier between Texas and its future."
The group was assembled by Jack Antonoff, guitar player for indie rock band .fun and Bleachers, who told Billboard magazine that "after seeing what happened in North Carolina, this is something that people really care about."
Antonoff said that his musical peers were all very enthusiastic about adding their name to the letter, adding, "I hope the level of talent on this list opens people’s eyes, and particularly that local legislators will realize how important this is — to the people living in Texas and to the people coming in and bringing a lot of money to the economy."
There's reason to believe this letter may actually make a difference. The massive blowback against North Carolina's HB2, fueled in part by actions from artists like Bruce Springsteen and organizations such as the NCAA and NBA, was seen as being partially responsible for former governor Pat McCrory's electoral defeat this past November.
To that end, the coalition letter makes clear that "artistic expression has always been a political act, and some of the most venerated artists in our history have put themselves on the line to take a stand against injustice."
The question now becomes: is Texas listening?