We’ve written before about Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace’s transgender activism, as well as her previous statement on North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 (HB2). HB2 states that all people must use the bathroom for the gender that is demarcated on their birth certificates, forcing trans men and women to use certain bathrooms against their will. Grace had previously said that she would use an upcoming show in Durham to create an event focusing on HB2, and this weekend she made good on that promise — with fire.
Midway through the band’s set, the singer produced a copy of her birth certificate — or maybe even the official. She then took a lighter to it, and fans cheered as she and her band watched the thing burn. As it turned to ashes she gleefully said into the microphone something plenty of trans and queer activists have been wanting to hear for years: “Goodbye gender.”
Grace’s performance comes on the heels of plenty of cancelations and charitable actions by other performers. The popular call to action against North Carolina for its HB2 was first brought about by Bruce Springsteen, who canceled his appearance there, and Ringo Starr followed suit. Several other artists, including Cyndi Lauper, Father John Misty, and Mumford & Sons, chose to give proceeds from their shows to charity. Duran Duran even went so far as to distribute petitions in support of repealing the bill at their April show in Charlotte, NC.
As Grace and others continue to take a stand against HB2, the war is now being waged in the government, too, as North Carolina has come under fire from the Justice Department. The discriminatory law potentially makes the state ineligible for federal funding that would be put toward infrastructure and education. The state is suing the Justice Department, and the Justice Department has filed a countersuit. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s statement that was made along with the announcement of the countersuit was the federal government’s first strong pro-trans statement, and it’s been heralded as game-changing.
Watch Grace burn her birth certificate below.