Bruce Springsteen is my all-time favorite musician. I still remember the first time I heard one of his songs — I was in my dad’s truck and he put Bruce Springsteen’s “Greatest Hits” album into the CD player. He played the song “The River” and my view on life has never been the same.
Springsteen has always been an outspoken liberal and it seems he only gets more outspoken with age.
I remember at one of his solo concerts at the Continental Airlines Arena in the early 2000s, now the Izod Center, where Springsteen could be heard yelling “Sing a little louder to impeach the President,” referring to then-President George W. Bush. So it came as no shock when in recent weeks Springsteen announced he would be canceling his upcoming concert in North Carolina. Springsteen canceled the concert after North Carolina passed HB2 or the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act which has been dubbed by the media as the “bathroom law.”
The new law states that in public bathrooms a person must use the bathroom of their “biological sex.” Basically, the law targets transgender individuals and forces them to use the bathroom of the sex they were born with instead of the sex they identify themselves as.
Other states, like South Carolina have also introduced similar bills. According to wyff4.com, the website of an NBC-affiliated television station in South Carolina, Senator Lee Bright has introduced a bill almost identical to North Carolina’s. Apparently, Bright has had enough with tolerance because the website quoted him as saying, “I mean, years ago we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance and tolerance. And now they want men who claim to be women to be able to go into bathrooms with children.”
The most troubling part of Senator Bright’s statement is that he said, “men who claim to be women.” This statement alone says that transgender people are not who they claim to be, that they are just men pretending to be women or women pretending to be men.
Springsteen wasn’t having any of it. In a statement released on his official website www.brucespringsteen.net he said, “… the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group in North Carolinian face such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.”
Underneath all the rhetoric, isn’t the issue much simpler? As a man, if I walk into a bathroom and see, let’s say, Caitlyn Jenner using the facilities, I would quickly walk out of the bathroom thinking I had mistakenly stepped into the women’s room. If a person has gone through tremendous changes and hardships to live the way they feel is right and true to them, shouldn’t they be allowed to use the bathroom of their new sex?
When one really digs into the issue, the economy also comes into play. The conservative right is always talking about the economy and how America needs more jobs, but enacting discriminatory laws like North Carolina did only hurts the economy.
According to Jon Kamp and Ben Cohen from the Wall Street Journal after the HB2 law was passed, both Deutsche Bank AG and PayPal Holdings Inc. “canceled expansion plans that would have brought a combined 650 jobs to the state.”
Also, how would one even know a transgender person was using a particular bathroom? I have used plenty of bathrooms in my life and I have never had to present my birth certificate upon entry. In North Carolina – will there now be security guards standing outside bathroom doors checking birth records and driver’s licenses? To make things easier, maybe the state can have people wear patches on their chests that identify what sex they were born with and what sex they are now living as so there is no confusion when it comes time to use the restroom. Unfortunately, that is where we are heading if hateful, discriminatory bills like this continue to be put into law.