Like many of us, I’ve been watching the reaction to HB2, the bathroom law in North Carolina that dictates people have to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. I can’t wrap my head around why — not just trying to understand the reasoning (if someone is intent on hurting another person, is a bathroom door really an effective deterrent?), but also the timing. Why NOW, when it seemed we’d made some strides toward acceptance??
So when artists started cancelling shows in NC out of protest, I was cheering. My immediate reaction was, YES! Boycott the hell out of the state and make them face their own stupidity, looking squarely at themselves in a gender-neutral bathroom mirror. Ringo Starr? Canceled. Circque du Soleil? Same thing. The reactions to these announcements are interesting, to say the least. When Bruce Springsteen announced he’d cancelled his show to protest HB2, The NY Post called it “his silly stand for bathroom rights.” Silly? Why silly? He’s raising his voice in opposition. Since when is that silly? It’s one of the strongest rights we have in this country – to express ourselves freely. His outrage – and his means of showing it – are anything but silly to many, many people.
But then I read about Mumford and Sons, who are going on as planned. At first blush, you might think that means the band doesn’t give a … hoot. (It’s a bathroom post – you knew I had to go there.) But thankfully, the truth is just the opposite. The band is creating a charitable fund and donating the money raised in ticket sales for their North Carolina performance to support a local LGBTQ organization. Taking something heartwrenching and turning it into something beneficial… now that, I can get behind.
I love this quote from Bill Boulding, dean of Duke University‘s Fuqua School of Business regarding this whole debacle:
“Discrimination in any form should never be tolerated. It’s simply unacceptable. There is no justification. And it’s up to all of us to speak out when injustice rises.”
So speak out, in whatever way you feel makes your point the strongest. Whether it’s protesting by boycotting, by donating or by simply expressing your opinion, make yourself heard. And here’s the cool thing: it’s not silly. Standing up for yourself – or someone else – is never “silly.” It’s right.