Singer Rufus Wainwright urges Americans to tackle global LGBT + threats

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NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As conservative states seek to curb transgender rights in the United States, Grammy-nominated two-time singer Rufus Wainwright has said Americans shouldn’t forget the challenges facing them LGBT + people in other parts of the world.

“It’s really important that homosexuals in North America stand up for what we need here, but always keep an eye out for the havoc happening around the world,” said gay American singer-songwriter. -Canadian in an interview.

Wainwright said that while the introduction of more than 250 LGBT + rights bills by US state legislatures this year was “awkward,” gay, bisexual and transgender people face greater threats in countries like Russia and the Middle East.

Wainwright spoke as he prepared to kick off his world tour in July with his first in-person concert since March 2020, when coronavirus lockouts interrupted tours and live events around the world.

Along with Impossible Gigs, Wainwright worked on a virtual tour, “Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective,” a home concert showcasing his entire catalog of studio albums, including nine recorded soundtracks.

The idea started when he started sharing daily videos of himself playing the piano in his bathrobe on Instagram.

“It quickly became both a saving grace and a kind of focal point for me and for the others who followed me,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But as the pandemic disrupted her working life, Wainwright, 47, said it gave her more time at home with her husband and uber-homebody manager Jorn Weisbrodt, and their 10-year-old daughter.

Wainwright, who battled drug addiction in the early 2000s and thanked singer Elton John for helping him overcome it, said being a parent comes with its own challenges.

Reluctantly, he banned his daughter from listening to the recent song Montero (Call Me By Your Name) by double Grammy Award-winning Lil Nas X because of its references to cocaine use.

“I wish I could play this song for my daughter, but I can’t,” he said.

‘OLD HOLLYWOOD’

Born in Rhinebeck, New York, two hours north of New York, Wainwright grew up in a family of musicians, the son of renowned folk singers, Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. Her sister is folk-rock singer Martha Wainwright.

After becoming a regular on the Montreal club circuit, Wainwright was signed to DreamWorks Records in 1996 and released his self-titled debut studio album two years later.

But he is perhaps best known for his 2006 tribute to American actress and gay icon Judy Garland, “Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall,” the album for which he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Album.

Garland’s works served as an escape in the weeks and months following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Wainwright said, and they remain an inspiration to him today.

“Judy is always there every time I go to get a carton of milk,” he said, passion audible in his voice.

“I still have those glimpses of old Hollywood and that’s a big part of the reason (I live in Los Angeles).”

For the next virtual grand finale of the tour, Wainwright will once again return to Garland, performing songs from “Rufus Does Judy”.

“This show is a positive injection into the world,” Wainwright said. “Hopefully, like a vaccine, it will help bring back everyone’s holistic health.”

Reporting by Matthew Lavietes @mattlavietes; Edited by Helen Popper and Hugo Greenhalgh; Please mention the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit news.trust.org



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