Famous musicians are trying to stop an anti-trans Texas bill before it becomes law.

"Bills like these are poison."

So reads a letter addressed to "Texas Leaders" signed by over 100 prominent artists in opposition to Texas Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 1362. Both are so-called "bathroom bills" that would require transgender students in public schools and people who work in certain state buildings to use the restroom that corresponds to their biological sex rather than their gender identity.

The letter is signed by a roster of celebrities including Ariana Grande, Sting, Sara Bareilles, Amy Poehler, Emma Stone, and Laverne Cox — who recently shouted out Gavin Grimm, a transgender Virginia student whose school board barred him from using the boys bathroom  — at the Grammys.


Image by The Ally Project.

"Transgender and gender non-conforming people are already subjected to bullying and harassment," the letter reads. "Can you imagine the message these bills send to children — the message of 'that child is unwelcome, that child is dangerous?'"

After North Carolina's HB2 was passed, artists responded with denunciations and boycotts. This time, the performers are taking a stand against the bill to prevent it from becoming law in the first place.

The letter was spearheaded by Jack Antonoff, lead singer and songwriter of Bleachers and co-founder of The Ally Coalition, which is sponsoring the campaign against the bills in conjunction with Equality Texas and GLAAD.

"What we want to do is stop it, but if we can’t stop it, we want to try and cast a light on it," Antonoff says. "We don’t want it to go through quietly. We want people to know what’s going on."

Jack Antonoff. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images.

Antonoff was motivated to take action on the legislation, in part, through his work with New Alternatives, a New York City-based support organization for homeless LGBTQ youth. Bills like SB6, he says, make things worse for everyone by ostracizing LGBTQ children from their peers and communities.

The Ally Coalition plans to target six different categories of bills.

In addition to these "bathroom bills," the organization will work to oppose state-level bills meant to repeal same-sex marriage, bills that allow groups on college campuses to discriminate against LGBTQ students, religious liberty bills, bills that strip housing and workplace protections from LGBTQ people, and bills that require school officials to out LGBTQ students to their parents.

In the meantime, the group is urging its followers to sign on to the campaign and for those who live in Texas to call their representatives and speak out. Their site includes a form with a sample letter for supporters who want to register their opposition to the law.

Antonoff wants his fellow performers to be bold and address the issue at their shows.

Ariana Grande, a signatory to the letter, performs in Las Vegas. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

"The biggest way you can fight back as someone with an audience is to speak to your audience," he says.

Getting thousands of screaming concertgoers to scream against discriminatory legislation, he hopes, might just wake up a state legislator or two.

And now is the time — before anyone gets hurt.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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