Watch Inauguration Performer Jackie Evancho Ask Donald Trump to Protect Transgender Rights
Teenage opera singer Jackie Evancho was the first musician of some reputation to sign on for Donald Trump’s inauguration. For her participation in what ended up being an unbridled, divisive ceremony—something closer to the Young Pope’s first papal address than any recent presidential performance—Evancho took her share of criticism, especially because her sister Juliet is transgender. (Juliet did not attend the performance.)
Yesterday, Trump walked back an Obama-era directive allowing transgender students to use the school bathroom of their choice. (Obama had threatened noncompliant schools with the removal of their federal school funds.) Instead, Trump said that states and public schools should be allowed to set their own guidelines. Depressingly, the notion of treating transgender people with fairness is still an effective wedge issue. Reuters quoted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who seems like a real piece of work, as praising the law for challenging Obama’s attempt to “rewrite the laws to fit his political agenda for radical social change.”
In response to the news, Evancho posted a series of messages to her Twitter asking Trump to reconsider the legal reversal. “You gave me the honor to sing at your inauguration,” she wrote. “Please give me and my sister the honor to meet with you to talk transgender rights.”
— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 22, 2017
— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 23, 2017
The replies, predictably, are pretty sad, split between diehard Trump supporters gleeful for the chance to suck in public (“He owes you nothing jackie!” one wrote) and Trump protesters asking Evancho what exactly she expected. While Trump once seemed like he could be the least awful Republican on LGBT rights—most of the candidates in last year’s horse race settled somewhere around “I don’t think gay people should literally go to jail but I also don’t want them to have rights” as their official stance—he soon fell in line, evincing support for North Carolina’s bathroom bill. Policy-wise, Trump has been a typical Republican with a dash of senile narcissism thrown in; there was really no reason to expect he wouldn’t nod and bob along with all their backwards, paranoid gender ideas.
This morning, Evancho and her sister appeared on Good Morning America, where they passionately appealed for Trump to change his mind. (Trump, who reportedly consumes a large quantity of television news, may have been watching for all we know.) Asked if she would perform again at the inauguration, Evancho said “most definitely.”