There is a lot going on in North Carolina as it has now become ground zero in the war for transgender rights. There has been a huge backlash from some of today’s biggest performers, companies, retail giants and even some good legislative news in response to North Carolina’s HB2 bill, which was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory on March 23rd 2016. Here is the latest:
In response to the new law, notable rock legends including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, and Pearl Jam have all canceled concerts that were supposed to take place in North Carolina. “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred,” said legendary Beatle Ringo Starr when speaking about why he cancelled his upcoming performances in the state. “Spread peace and love.” He went on to say.
“Some things are more important than a rock show”
Bruce Springsteen also canceled a recent concert stating, “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,”
Rockers Pearl Jam also cancelled their April 20th show in Raleigh and released a statement on their website “The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens.”
In an interesting twist, punk rockers Against Me!, who are fronted by transgender singer Laura Jane Grace, decided the will still play their May 15th show in North Carolina as an “act of protest”. Though Grace praised artists like Springsteen for standing with the transgender community by not performing in the state, in an interview with Buzzfeed, she said, “no one would care if we canceled.” Grace says she will be speaking about transgender rights on stage. “The transgender people who live in North Carolina don’t have the option to boycott the state. “They live here. They pay taxes. They are prisoners to it.” Grace also said. In her opinion it would be more defiant for her to show up than cancel.
The list of artists boycotting North Carolina continues to grow with Bryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper, Boston and Mumford & Sons joining the list.
See Eddie Vedder’s speech on Pearl Jam’s North Carolina Boycott:
Big Companies Fight Back
“PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”
North Carolina has seen backlash from some big companies in light of the HB2 law. Most notable is Paypal, who recently scrapped their plans to build an expansion in Charlotte. “The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.” Said the company on its website.
Retail giant Target also took a stand against discrimination releasing the following statement on its website. “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
U.S. Court of Appeals Rules HB2 Violates Title IX
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of student Gavin Grimm against his high school’s discriminatory restroom policy. The ruling shows HB2 violates Title IX and it will now jeopardize federal education funding. Though the case took plavce in Virginia, the Fourth Circuit also covers North Carolina.
“His school was forcing him to use either the girls bathroom or his own isolated bathroom”
Gavin Grimm is a 16-year-old transgender male. His school was forcing him to use either the girls bathroom or his own isolated bathroom after parents in the district complained about him using the men’s restrooms. The ruling has huge implications as it sets a precedent for cases going forward against HB2. It has been estimated that North Carolina Schools stand to lose close to 4.5 billion dollars in federal aid.
Too Little too Late
Due to the pressures of many and with the prospect of losing serious revenue in his state, Governor Pat McCrory issued an executive order which he hoped would clarify what he considered confusion and misunderstanding of HB2. Due to the passage of HB2 as law however; it appears the order would not have any weight against the law. Here are some highlights of the order:
Section 3. Restroom Accommodations
In North Carolina, private businesses can set their own rules for their own restroom, locker room and shower facilities, free from government interference.
Under current law, every multiple occupancy restroom, locker room or shower facility located in a cabinet agency must be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex. Agencies may make reasonable accommodations upon a person’s request due to special circumstances.
Therefore, when readily available and when practicable in the best judgment of the agency, all cabinet agencies shall provide a reasonable accommodation of a single occupancy restroom, locker room or shower facility upon request due to special circumstances.
All council of state agencies, cities, counties, the University of North Carolina System and the North Carolina Community College System are invited and encouraged to make a similar accommodation when practicable.
This appears to be a feeble attempt to walk back the poor decision McCrory made in signing the bill. With the new Title IX ruling in the Forth Circuit it appears HB2 may be in jeopardy of being overturned.