Canadian Artists Unite Against Anti-Trans Legislation in Powerful Open Letter

In a resounding display of solidarity, over 400 Canadian artists spanning the realms of music, film, and literature have joined forces to denounce what they collectively label as “alarming and destructive” anti-trans legislation. Spearheaded by music icons Tegan and Sara, the open letter serves as a poignant call to action against policies perceived to pose grave threats to the well-being of transgender individuals across Canada.

Among the notable signatories are acclaimed actor Elliot Page, folk music legend Neil Young, actress Elisha Cuthbert, and recent Grammy winner Allison Russell. Their unified message resonates with urgency as they underscore the profound impact of anti-trans policies on the mental and physical health of trans individuals nationwide.

The letter unequivocally condemns initiatives such as Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s proposed pronoun policies for gender diverse children in schools and restrictive measures targeting youth seeking gender-affirming care. It also shines a spotlight on analogous policies in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, identifying them as discriminatory measures disproportionately affecting transgender youth.

At the recent Juno Awards, Tegan and Sara received the humanitarian award, providing them with a platform to address the pressing issue of anti-trans legislation. Their impassioned plea for awareness and action underscores the gravity of the situation, urging governments and stakeholders to prioritize urgent issues such as climate change and the housing crisis.

Released on Transgender Day of Visibility, the timing of the letter holds particular significance. It serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by the trans community, while also highlighting the resilience and solidarity of allies across various artistic disciplines.

The signatories, which include luminaries such as singer Anne Murray, director Deepa Mehta, and author Michael Crummey, collectively voice their opposition to school-based pronoun policies and proposed bans on hormone therapy. They call upon all levels of government to intervene and halt the progression of legislation deemed harmful to the transgender community.

The breadth of support for the open letter is striking, with renowned figures from the Canadian entertainment landscape lending their voices to the cause. Juno award-winning singer-songwriter Aysanabee, comedian Colin Mochrie, and musical acts Feist, Tokyo Police Club, Metric, and The Beaches are among the distinguished signatories. Additionally, icons like The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois, Schitt’s Creek actress Emily Hampshire, and singer Rufus Wainwright have added their names to the chorus of solidarity.

The acknowledgment of Tegan and Sara’s advocacy work by Page, who presented them with the award at the Junos, further underscores the importance of collective action in defending the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. In a time marked by global regression on LGBTQ+ rights, their recognition serves as a rallying cry for continued activism and support.

In essence, the open letter represents a powerful testament to the unwavering commitment of Canadian artists to stand in solidarity with the transgender community. It is a reminder that in the face of adversity, unity and advocacy can serve as powerful tools for effecting meaningful change and fostering a more inclusive society.

Become a Member and get access to shows, buy/sell tickets and network with fans & bands from across Canada. Sign-up for free!

Related Articles

The Day the Music Burned

It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.
Chuck Berry, 1958.CreditCreditPhoto Illustration by Sean Freeman & Eve Steben for The New York Times. Source Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

Music Is Facing a Mental Health Crisis

Money is tight while they work long and weird hours, travel incessantly, are isolated from their friends and family at home, and have ample access to drinks and drugs. They write, record, release, and promote, and then repeat the cycle over and over again. And now, more than ever, the industry demands constant content, lest they are forgotten in the ocean of songs hitting Spotify every Friday. But then they get in the van and, especially in Canada, drive absurd distances between low-paying gigs for a tour they likely had to book themselves.