Lizzo, Madonna Join Chorus of Artists Who ‘Strongly Denounce’ Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

lizzo reacts to anti lgbtq - Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
lizzo reacts to anti lgbtq - Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Lizzo and Madonna have both taken stances in calling out the recent rash of anti-LGBTQ bills like the Tennessee drag ban and laws aimed at trans healthcare.

Earlier this month, Lizzo shared a series of tweets about getting to the root of the hate. “I’ve never heard a person say why they’re racist… Or fatphobic.. I’ve never heard a reason why someone is transphobic.. I think if we knew ‘why’ these people felt this way there would way less support for these ideals. Because the ‘why’ is more insidious than we realize,” she wrote before adding later: “Don’t get it twisted— I don’t care why people are bigoted. That’s a waste of my imagination. I feel like there’s a lot of complicit silence and apathetic participation going on that wouldn’t fly if people knew more.”

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In the same vein, Madonna won’t allow the hate spiel to alienate her from her audience in Tennessee. The singer recently added a Nashville stop to her tour schedule, with proceeds from the show benefiting trans-rights organizations.

“The oppression of the LGBTQ+ is not only unacceptable and inhumane; it’s creating an unsafe environment; it makes America a dangerous place for our most vulnerable citizens, especially trans women of color,” Madonna said in a statement. “Also, these so-called laws to protect our children are unfounded and pathetic. Anyone with half a brain knows not to fuck with a drag queen. Bob and I will see you from the stage in Nashville where we will celebrate the beauty that is the queer community.”

Country star Reba McEntire chimed in a few weeks later, too, when asked about the anti-drag bill during an interview with the Los Angeles Times. McEntire said she was “disappointed” that the bill past, adding, “I wish they would spend that much time and energy and money on feeding the homeless children in those two counties.”

When asked potentially alienating segments of her audience, McEntire quipped, “I mean, we’ve got a real problem in this country, and to be worrying about men wanting to dress up as women? God bless ’em to wear those high heels — I feel for ’em. But let’s center our attention on something that really needs attention.”

Unfounded and pathetic are spot-on descriptors as more holes are poked into the arguments supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. “Thank you for proving why the drag ban is targeted and ridiculous,” Jason Isbell wrote on Twitter in response to a claim that it would be inappropriate for a straight man to gyrate his hips at a school. “IT’S ALREADY ILLEGAL TO DO SEXUAL SHIT IN FRONT OF KIDS. Completely unnecessary law aimed at people who don’t tend to vote GOP.”

The B-52’s also took aim at the laws targeting trans healthcare. “We, The B-52’s, are deeply concerned about the numerous new bills that promote transphobia and discrimination against transgender individuals and drag artists, which have been introduced in the United States,” the band wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

“We strongly denounce these bills and stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, we are witnessing such blatant attempts to undermine the rights of individuals based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. These bills not only violate the fundamental human rights of the affected individuals but also perpetuate a toxic culture of hate and intolerance that has no place in our society.”

Nashville’s own Hayley Williams of Paramore previously wrote of the Tennessee laws aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, “Once again our state has passed two regressive and unfathomably harmful bills. We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ family and local LGBTQIA+ orgs in this fight, not only for inclusion for our friends and family in the queer community, but for radical acceptance and empowerment for each of them. Drag is not a crime. Gender-affirming healthcare for all, including our youth, is a necessity.”

The Bonnaroo music festival, stationed in Manchester, Tennessee, similarly pledged to remain a “safe haven for people of all walks of life” despite the newly-passed laws. “Rest assured The Farm will remain a sanctuary for those freedoms and Bonnaroovians will see no changes in programming or celebration of self-expression at the festival,” organizers wrote.

“This is how Hitler started, just weeding everybody out,” Cyndi Lauper previously said of the Republican-backed bills popping up in red states nationwide. “Equality for everybody, or nobody’s really equal.”

RuPaul, perhaps America’s most well-known drag performer, similarly criticized Republican lawmakers, calling their focus on the LGBTQ+ community a “distraction technique. “[It’s] distracting us away from the real issues that they were voted into office to focus on — jobs, healthcare, keeping our children safe from harm at their own school,” RuPaul added on social media.

“Bullies are incompetent at solving real issues,” RuPaul continued while calling drag queens the “Marines of the queer movement.”

“They look for easy targets so they can give the impression of being effective. They think our love, our light, our laughter, and our joy are signs of weakness. But they’re wrong — because that is our strength.”

This story was updated 3/31/23 @ 1:58 p.m. ET with comments about the anti-drag law from Reba McEntire.

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