NASHVILLE, TN — GLAAD, the world's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ( LGBT ) media advocacy organization, today called on the music industry to take a stand against discriminatory bills currently pending in Tennessee, which threaten the rights and safety of LGBT people. Tennessee's House Bill 1840 would allow counselors to refuse mental health services to LGBT patients, and Tennessee's HB 2414, a so-called "bathroom bill," would target transgender youth, aged K-12, as well as transgender higher education students — denying them the safety and freedom to use the bathroom that matches their identity.
"There is no doubt that these anti-LGBT bills will jeopardize this state's economy," GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said during a press conference today in Nashville. "Nashville is America's music capital, and the companies, artists, and allied businesses here alone contribute more than $9.7 billion dollars to this state's economy. I am here today to call on the music industry to stand with us, alongside television networks and film studios who stood with us in Georgia, in a united front against discrimination."
Actor and musician Chris Carmack, who plays the gay country music star Will Lexington on ABC's hit show 'Nashville,' joined GLAAD in speaking out against the discriminatory bills at today's press conference:
"This kind of unnecessary discrimination has no place in this city or the state of Tennessee," Carmack said. "It could take years to undo the economic damage done by these potential laws; but let me be clear, the human damage can never be repaired. Our young people only get one chance to grow up in a state that values and accepts them for who they are. Let's not take that away from them. It's important for those who can make a difference in my industry to stand up. Let their words be heard. Let their actions be seen. Please join me in making sure these laws doesn't become a reality in our state."
Recording artists Miley Cyrus, Ty Herndon, and Chely Wright are among the recording artists who have also spoken out.
"As a recording artist and resident of Tennessee, this matter breaks my heart," said music artist Ty Herndon. "My voice is small compared to the powerful noise we can all make together. It truly is a matter of life and death that the country music industry step up and demand that these bills be dismissed. Now is the time for everyone's heart to be strong and brave. Therefore, I stand and join other supporters of equality calling on Tennessee's elected officials to reject legislation that would harm and marginalize transgender children, already among our most vulnerable young people. Discrimination is always wrong, but it's particularly heartbreaking to see legislators considering terrible measures targeting, instead of supporting, our children. When I told my mother I'm gay, her only concern was that I would have a happy and successful life. Because My Life Mattered. Let her be our example."
Others joining GLAAD at Monday's Nashville press conference included the Tennessee Equality Project, the Tennessee Transgender Political Committee, Songwriters-Hall-of-Fame-member Desmond Child, Nashville Pastor Stan Mitchell, and local transgender youth.
GLAAD joined the Tennessee Equality Project last week in support of a petition that voices opposition to the state's discriminatory bills. Thousands have already signed in support of equality and acceptance for all LGBT Tennesseans:http://tnep.nationbuilder.com/veto_hate_bill_1840_the_counseling_discrimination_bill
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD onFacebook and Twitter .