Country legend Dolly Parton reemphasized her commitment to LGBTQ+ rights amidst controversy over newly-passed legislation in Tennessee that has been criticized for allowing discrimination against transgender people.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Thursday, the 11-time Grammy winner voiced her desire for everyone to be treated with kindness and empathy, stressing her belief in the importance of embracing diversity.
Parton has typically stayed clear of engaging in political debates in her home state of Tennessee. However, when questioned about the recently passed legislation, she couldn't help but express her perspective on inclusion and understanding.
“I just want everybody to be treated good.”
“I have some of everybody in my own immediate family and in my circle of employees. I’ve got transgender people. I’ve got gays. I’ve got lesbians...all within my own family."
"I know and love them all, and I do not judge. And I just see how broken-hearted they get over certain things and I know how real they are.”
Speaking of the struggles facing the LGBTQ+ community specifically, she said:
“I know how important this is to them. That’s who they are. They cannot help that any more than I can help being Dolly Parton, you know, the way people know me."
"If there’s something to be judged, that is God’s business. But we are all God’s children and how we are is who we are.”
Many have praised Parton for speaking out.
Tennessee has faced scrutiny for enacting legislation that bans gender-affirming health care for minors and becoming the first state to criminalize certain types of drag performances. Although Parton has generally refrained from taking overtly political stances, her commitment to LGBTQ+ rights aligns with her previous subtle expressions of support.
In 2016, during discussions about North Carolina's House Bill 2, which restricted transgender people's restroom use, Parton shared her views with CNN Business, saying that " if I have to pee, I'm going to pee. I don't care where it's going to be."