This past Friday, Bruce Springsteen announced publicly that he would be cancelling his show that had been scheduled for Sunday, April 10th in Greensboro, NC. This cancellation came not as a result of illness, or family emergency, or any of the common reasons; Bruce instead chose to cancel this show as a show of protest against the recent passing of HB2- the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, more commonly known as the Bathroom Bill.
To give some background on the issue at hand, in February Charlotte, NC officials passed an ordinance to expand upon anti-discrimination laws. Specifically, the ordinance prevents businesses from discriminating against customers who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender. It also allowed for people who are transgender to use the public facilities that correspond to the gender they identify as.
Sounds pretty reasonable, right? (and if it doesn’t, you should probably stop here).
On March 23rd, approximately once month after the ordinance in Charlotte was passed, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which effectively reverses the ordinance in its entirety. In fact, as per the Charlotte Observer, it “limits how people pursue claims of discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, biological sex or handicap in state courts. The law also means a city or county cannot set a minimum wage standard for private employers.” Still sound like a good plan?
Going back to the whole bathroom issue at hand, since this is the issue that has undoubtedly received the most attention. Supporters seem to cling to the argument that allowing people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with is going to allow predators to attack their women and children, since they believe that it gives free public bathroom access to everyone. “Think of the innocent children!”, they say (mostly in online arguments, but I picture them dramatically clutching at their chests all the while), “I don’t want someone exposing themselves to my child!” My question to them is, what exactly are you doing in the bathroom that this is of a significant concern to you??
I’m not going to lie, there were many a time in my hard-partying bar days when the line up for the ladies room was excessively long, and some gentleman would take pity on us and lead us into the men’s room to relieve ourselves. The guys never seemed all that offended, there were stalls for us to use and we didn’t have to wait- and not once did anyone try to attack us, or did we see anything inappropriate. Also, I hate to break the news to the HB2 supporters, but if a predator is really after your child, do you think he or she (because yes, there are female predators too, though men often are showcased in their fairy tale imaginings of who or what a predator is) is going to let the little plastic sign on the door that indicates ‘male’ or ‘female’ stop them? I don’t. Trans people want to use a bathroom that corresponds to their gender as much as anyone else. The truth is, they are subject to much more abuse when in an improper facility than the ‘innocent children’ are perceived to be.
North Carolina is not the only state that has come under fire recently either. Bryan Adams announced today that he would be cancelling a show in Biloxi, MS that had been scheduled for this Thursday, amidst the passing of a controversial ‘religious liberties’ law; a law which allows private businesses and religious organizations the ability discriminate against the LGBT community who are in violation of their ‘sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions’.
I guess what my next question would be, is how exactly they plan to determine who is sincere in their religious following and who is simply using it as an excuse to discriminate against something they don’t understand. I would suppose it would be in the same way that they intend to identify transgender people before heaven forbid they use a bathroom that doesn’t adhere to their genitalia (assuming they haven’t undergone gender reassignment surgery). The truth is, you can’t.
I feel terribly for the fans of both Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams who had purchased tickets to their respective shows. I know if it were me, I’d certainly be disappointed. However, I think their intentions are honourable and they are using their celebrity status to try to make a difference, whether controversial or not- and this is certainly a topic that has a very strong dividing line between opposition and supporter. Only look at comments on each of their Twitter feeds, on articles on the internet and this is blatantly apparent.
In the end, this comes down to human rights, with a strong emphasis on human. These superstars are able to use their wide-reaching public persona to advocate for those that can’t. In the end, the best way to do that is to hit a state where it hurts, and that’s the economy. By pulling out of these shows, both North Carolina and Mississippi stand to lose a lot of money. Hopefully with this realization will come a resolution that will be more acceptable to all parties in North Carolina.
Note: this is strictly my opinion, not the opinion of anyone else related to this blog. I stand by it, but understand and realize that not all people will or do. With that being said, if rude or abusive comments are made here, they will be deleted.