(Video still via Mercury Records)
Sir Elton John is not my favorite public figure to be sure, but he should be applauded for contributing a heartfelt essay on the outrageous North Carolina HB2 law that has roiled the nation.
Writing for The Hill, John argues:
But what’s worse than the discriminatory bill itself, and the millions in taxpayer dollars [Gov. Pat] McCrory is wasting to defend it, is that the governor signed it after admitting he had never met a transgender person. Although McCrory later walked his statement back, the message he sent was clear: the actual experiences of transgender people have no place in a debate over their basic rights.
John goes on to say:
Shouldn’t our elected officials be able to say the same about the problems they’re trying to solve? Stigma and shame drive some of the biggest problems facing society’s most marginalized populations. An unacceptably high percentage of LGBT teens are severely bullied. Only 30 percent of Americans with HIV reach viral suppression, many too ashamed to seek appropriate care. The transgender homicide rate is at an all-time high, driven by fear and prejudice.
To address these problems, our leaders must first acknowledge their existence, as well as the existence of the people affected. And yes, that starts with bathrooms.
In summary, the man who was once fine with civil unions (and once married to a woman!) offers this powerful statement:
McCrory and others who support these discriminatory bathroom bills need to reverse course, but moreover, they need a lesson in compassion. They need to recognize the existence of trans people, and they need to acknowledge that all people have a fundamental desire—and a fundamental right—to be treated fairly.
Bravo, Sir Elton.