By Kristen M. Hall, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Several country music artists and songwriters have condemned proposed laws that critics say discriminate against LGBT people, but anyone looking for reaction from the record labels and production companies on Nashville’s Music Row has heard only the sound of silence.
New laws in North Carolina and Mississippi have drawn the ire of businesses and celebrities alike, with Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams canceling shows in those states. Legislation dealing with the treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people was vetoed by Georgia’s governor, but bills are still being considered in Tennessee and South Carolina.
Numerous artists with ties to Nashville have denounced the proposals here, which would ban transgender people from using restrooms that don’t conform to their sex at birth and would allow counselors to refuse services to LGBT people on religious grounds. Among them: Emmylou Harris, Billy Ray Cyrus and his pop star daughter Miley Cyrus, and actor Chris Carmack of ABC’s “Nashville.”
Gretchen Peters, a singer songwriter who has written hits like Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” said the bills being considered in Tennessee are deeply personal to her as the mother of a 31-year-old transgender man.
“The people who are at risk are people like my son who would really be called out publicly, and anyone who is a trans person knows that can escalate into a really dangerous situation,” she said. “I live in fear of that as a mother.”