For a nation that last year constitutionalised same-sex marriage across all 50 states, the USA is still finding itself in troubled waters regarding the treatment of the LGBT community. Earlier this year North Carolina passed HB2 effectively taking a stance against those who have found themselves with an anatomy that does not match their gender identity. Basically, as everyone has probably seen floating around, HB2 has been nicknamed the ‘Bathroom Bill’ and is simply putting a law in place making individuals use their biological bathroom, not the bathroom their gender is aligned to. Though it is rather simple to just let people themselves, other states such as Michigan and Tennessee are looking into similar bills wanting to separate sex and gender.
Already, in reaction to these anti-transgender bills we have seen public figures and companies strike out at the state. Notable artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Bryan Adams have all cancelled upcoming tour dates in the state to protest such laws discriminating towards a specific community. On the other side of the spectrum artists such as Cyndi Lauper and punk act Against Me! have held onto their upcoming shows throughout the state using them as a way to promote awareness and to fundraise for social groups in the region. Not only this the state has received a lot of backlash from businesses. Porn website xHamster has blocked access to their site whilst other companies are retracting relations with state having Paypal moving over 400 employees out of the state.
This raises a question though, is it fair for artists and companies to boycott the state in protest? Because obviously these gestures, though quite powerful, are displacing people who have been caught in the middle of this situation. For example if I wanted to see Bruce Springsteen I bloody want to see Bruce Springsteen so if he cancels his show myself and others are clearly going to be unhappy or even hurt. That being said I believe that these movements are in fact the right thing to do, I feel like movements like these are a strong example of seeing people exercise their rights as humans under democracy. These bands standing up for what they believe in is a simple yet powerful way to show leaders that a majority find the laws they’re implementing as attacking and violating human rights. Together we have a voice, our democratic representatives are much easier to contact than you would think and when we see public figures take a strong stance on a topic with a following it gives off a hint change needs to happen.
Over the past 10 years we have a seen a lot of progression regarding sexual rights and how members of the LGBT community are becoming more and more accepted under the state. That being said though it seems that this message hasn’t reached upper levels of government. The fact that a bill like HB2, though a very basic bill, made its way through shows the disconnection between essentially old world politicians and the people they’re meant to be representing. So to bounce back to that previous idea it’s time that we flex our power as people. We’re meant to be led by the people for the people and seeing movements like this made are rather large considering the strength people hold. I really hope that other states that are planning to implement similar laws see from this how people actually feel about the topic. It’s simply put as human rights for all not just those under the same belief as you. Pee where you wanna pee it’s as black and white as that. Let people be people.