“I’m going to create an event around the show as a form of protest to say that despite whatever stupid laws they enact, trans people are not going to be scared,” said Grace, who came out as transgender in 2012. “They are not going to go away.”
Known as the “bathroom bill,” HB2 forces transgender people to use restrooms associated with their birth certificate, and the LGBT community’s rights within the workplace are also impinged. It comes amidst a spate of similar laws in states like Mississippi and Indiana, which cripple the rights of the LGBT community under the guise of “religious freedom.”
“I think the real danger with HB2 is that it creates a target on transgender people specifically,” Grace said. “When you feel targeted as a trans person, the natural inclination is to go into hiding. But visibility is more important than ever; to go there and have the platform of a stage to stand on and speak your mind and represent yourself.”
North Carolina’s law has already faced a backlash from many of the state’s corporate employers, while both Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr have also canceled concerts there. Bryan Adams also called off a show in Mississippi over its anti-LGBT law.
“Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen aren’t transgender,” Grace said. “For them to say, ‘I think this bill is messed up and I’m not going to go here and be part of the state,’ that seems like the effort of an ally, which is really commendable.”
Grace added that Against Me! will allow North Carolina LGBT organizations to set up information tables at their Durham show, something she also wrote about on Twitter at the end of March, when she first stated she would not cancel the Durham show but was “eager to play North Carolina ’cause of the bill.” She also said she planned to address LGBT rights from the stage and would encourage attendees to use gender-neutral bathrooms at the venue too.
“This is all kind of happening in the moment,” she said. “I’m doing what I can do and I’ll make the most of going to North Carolina.”