Famed secular rocker Bruce Springsteen has canceled his concert today in North Carolina to show his opposition to a recently passed state law that annulled a controversial “bathroom bill” in Charlotte and banned other cities from passing similar ordinances.
“As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the ‘bathroom’ law. HB2—known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act—dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use,” he wrote in a social media post on Friday. “Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace.”
“No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden,” Springsteen said. “To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.”
He explained that he had decided to cancel his concert as an act of solidarity with those who identify as homosexual or transgender, calling them “freedom fighters.”
“Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters,” Springsteen said. “As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th.”
“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them,” he continued. “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”
As previously reported, last month, North Carolina lawmakers passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act after the Charlotte City Council voted to expand the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to add provisions for homosexuals and those who identify as the opposite sex—including in regard to restroom and locker room use.
“Public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex,” the legislation reads in part. “Local boards of education shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility that is designated for student use to be designated for and used only by students based on their biological sex.”
Gov. Pat McCrory promptly signed the Public Facilities Act into law on the same day of its passage, and later released a fact sheet to clarify what he believed were misunderstandings about the content of the ordinance.
“Businesses are not limited by this bill. Private individuals, companies and universities can adopt new or keep existing nondiscrimination policies,” it reads in part. “[I]f a privately-owned sporting facility wants to allow attendees of sporting events to use the restroom of their choice, or install unisex bathrooms, they can. The law neither requires nor prohibits them from doing so.”
“This law simply says people must use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. Anyone who has undergone a sex change can change their sex on their birth certificate,” the fact sheet also advises.
The the ACLU, Equality North Carolina and Lamba Legal soon filed suit against McCrory and others on behalf of two transgendered residents, Joaquín Carcaño and Payton Grey McGarry, as well as and Angela Gilmore, a lesbian employed at North Carolina Central University.
But others expressed their support for the bill.
“It is just common sense that men should not go into the women’s restrooms,” Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, told reporters. “It’s ridiculous to have such an uproar.”
Some have likewise now spoken against Bruce Springsteen’s cancellation of his Sunday concert in Greensboro.
“It’s disappointing he’s not following through on his commitments,” Rep. Mark Walker, a pastor, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Bruce is known to be on the radical left … [and] I consider this a bully tactic. It’s like when a kid gets upset and says he’s going to take his ball and go home.”
“Will Bruce now cancel shows in every city or state that has a law on the books with which he disagrees, or has voted for a governor or senator he doesn’t like?” asked local musician Steve Baker.
“The Greensboro Coliseum has men’s restrooms, women’s restrooms and presumably family restrooms,” Republican Party leader Dallas Woodhouse also said in a statement. “For years young girls have safely used the restrooms at ACC Tournament games and other events at the Greensboro Coliseum separated from grown men. The legislature and governor simply secured the long-standing common policy of safety and security and privacy.”