(NEW YORK) — Jackie Evancho, the opera singer who performed the national anthem at President Trump’s inauguration, said she and her transgender sister, Juliet, hope to “enlighten” the president on transgender issues in the wake of his administration’s order to roll back protections for transgender students. But she said that she would still perform for the president again.
“The reason why I did sing for the inauguration was not politics,” Jackie Evancho, 16, said Thursday on Good Morning America in an interview alongside her sister, Juliet Evancho. “It was for the honor and privilege to perform for my country and that will stay the same, I think.”
But they nonetheless expressed concern over the president’s new transgender policy. Jackie Evancho said she had not yet heard from Trump after asking him via Twitter to meet with her and Juliet, an 18-year-old transgender advocate who was born “Jacob.”
“I guess I just want to enlighten him on what my sister, I’ve seen her go through every single day in school and people just like her, what they deal with,” Jackie Evancho said. “The discrimination, it’s terrible.”
The Trump administration on Wednesday night rescinded Obama-era guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
In a letter sent to schools on Wednesday, the Justice and Education Departments said that the Obama administration’s guidance — which cited Title IX — did not explain how it was consistent with the law.
The Trump administration letter claimed that the Obama-era directive caused confusion and lawsuits over its enforcement, and said that the states should take a “primary role” in establishing policy.
Jackie Evancho’s response to Trump on Twitter including her writing that she was “disappointed” at his decision to let states decide.
— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 22, 2017
— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 23, 2017
Evancho, a former America’s Got Talent runner-up, faced a torrent of criticism for agreeing to perform at Trump’s inauguration. Juliet did not attend the Jan. 20 inauguration to see her sister perform because she was preparing to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
On Thursday, Juliet Evancho said she would also bring a message of understanding were she to meet with Trump.
“Basically that being at a high school where the policies on the bathroom are unclear, I, as Jackie has said, I kind of live it every day, going through discrimination,” she said she would tell the president. “I’ve had things thrown at me. I’ve had people say pretty horrible things and the unsafe environment is just very unhealthy so I feel like Donald Trump needs to know that being in such an unsafe environment won’t do any good not only for the transgenders and the LGBTQ community but as well as everyone as a whole.”
“When I heard about it I was very disappointed and I realized that we would need to take action in order to enlighten the administration on everything,” she said.
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