Six transgender people from across the country joined forces to create the above video, “Dear Jackie...,” with the aim of getting the “America’s Got Talent” veteran to reconsider her Jan. 20 performance. In recent weeks, media outlets have been quick to point out that Evancho’s sister, Juliet, identifies as transgender and is one of three trans students suing a Pennsylvania school district over their right to use restrooms that best correspond with their gender identity.
In the weeks since Evancho committed to the performance, she’s faced a barrage of criticism on social media for her apparent support of Trump, particularly given the fact that her sister is trans. (Never mind that she’s not yet legally able to vote.) But as the video’s participants explain, Evancho would be in a unique position to make a bold statement on behalf of the transgender community by bowing out of the show. It would be likely to sting Trump, who ran on an explicitly anti-LGBTQ platform and has voiced support for North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which prohibits trans people from using the appropriate restroom.
The video’s co-writer and co-producer, Christina A. DiEdoardo, told The Huffington Post that while Evancho has defended her sister in interviews, the inauguration performance still shows “support for laws that would disenfranchise” the transgender community.
“To be blunt, transphobia has a body count, and those who aid and abet transphobia like Trump have the blood of our wounded and murdered sisters, brothers and kindred on their hands,” she said. “For that reason, there’s no way for someone to sing for Trump, stand with him or otherwise support him without some of that blood sticking to them.”
Ultimately, DiEdoardo hopes the clip’s inclusive message resounds beyond Inauguration Day. “Our goal in making the video is to show that declarations of support, to be really meaningful, require action on the part of those making them,” she said.
While President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies drew the likes of Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé, Trump’s officials have struggled to secure a lineup. On Saturday, Broadway singer-actress Jennifer Holliday cited her longtime support of the LGBTQ community in her decision to back out of the inauguration festivities just days after her performance was announced. On Monday, the B Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, followed suit, saying that playing the inauguration isn’t something Springsteen, who endorsed Hillary Clinton, would approve of.
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