Phoebe Bridgers comes out swinging for trans rights at Texas’ SXSW: ‘The stakes are high here’
Singer Phoebe Bridgers and her label stood up for trans rights at South by Southwest (SXSW), denouncing reviled anti-trans and anti-abortion laws in the festival’s host state of Texas.
Hosting a showcase with her label Saddest Factory Records, she and comedian Caleb Hearon made an effort to condemn a recent statement by Texas governor Greg Abbott equating trans healthcare to “child abuse”.
According to Rolling Stone, the pair welcomed Democratic politician Greg Casar to the stage, who said Abbott is choosing to “bully and target trans kids” with the legislation.
“The stakes are high here,” Casar said at the festival.
“They’re high here in Texas and all over the country, because right now in our state, abortion is virtually banned for working-class and low-income people.
“Here in the most uninsured state in the country, we have kids dying in foster care, in a state with so many low-wage jobs, because we have so much corporate power.
“Our governor, instead of choosing to fix that, is choosing to bully and target trans kids and their families… are we OK with that? I want to hear, ‘Hell no!'”
Phoebe Bridgers also performed with Sloppy Jane at the showcase, who she was previously bassist for.
The set saw Bridgers attempt to get on frontwoman Haley Dahl’s shoulders, and the group perform a cover of My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade.
Rolling Stone reported that Gin Pham, the communications and outreach manager of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, attended the Saddest Factory showcase to provide resources.
He said that trans youth in Texas “are being threatened right now to be taken away from their families. One huge thing that we’re trying to do is not only ensure that that doesn’t happen, but we’re also ensuring that these kids know that they’re supported.”
Governor Abbott has come under fire in recent weeks for leading a campaign which aims to punish the parents of trans children for requesting puberty blockers or hormone therapy.
The lawmaker recently referred to puberty blockers as “child abuse”, beginning an effort along with Texas attorney general Ken Paxton to limit trans youth from accessing gender-affirming medical care.
Together, Abbott and Paxton ordered the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to “conduct prompt and thorough investigations of any reported instances of Texas children being subjected to abusive gender-transitioning procedures”.
Chase Strangio, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “Families across Texas are being investigated and care is being halted.
“It is a disaster. They are trying to stop kids from being trans – but you can’t make us not trans, you can only make us not alive.”