It has been well reported that singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen cancelled his Greensboro, NC show, scheduled Sunday, April 10th, due to the transphobic legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. Known as the “bathroom bill,” the measure blocks any further protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporters have argued that this will improve the “safety” of women and children in public bathrooms and showers, despite this not being an issue in the 18 states and over 100 cities where LGBT protections do exist.
Since his cancellation, republican congressman Mark Walker has called Springsteen a “bully” and has vocalized support for other acts soon to come to the area, including Def Leppard and Justin Bieber. “I’ve never been a Bieber fan, but I might have to go,” he stated. “Maybe artists who weren’t ‘born to run’ deserve a little bit more support.”
Walker went on to state that Springsteen is “known to be radical left” and called the cancellation a “bully tactic.”
This is where I believe Walker has gone too far. We continue to see examples of conservative politics bullying and marginalizing the LGBT community, only to then turn it around and claim that those of us who support equality are “discriminating” against their religious freedom. It is a claim that is fundamentally false, and it has become so blatantly obvious that it is almost appalling that people actually believe this.
This measure is a sordid, calculated move (by state legislators comprised of 103 republicans and 11 democrats) to deny rights to LGBT citizens. It is absurd to label Springsteen a “bully,” when he is simply using his celebrity to lend support to the very people you continue to bully.
Springsteen isn’t alone in his “bully tactic.” Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia recently struck down a religious freedom law under increasing pressure from the business community who threatened to pull jobs from Georgia. “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” he stated. He went on to state that he was not responding to the amounting pressure from businesses, but instead stating his decision was “about the character of our state and the character of our people. Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind, and generous people.”
It is a sad reality that certain elected officials are so hellbent on denying liberties to the LGBT community that it comes to this. That celebrities have to cancel shows in protest, and businesses have to threaten to relocate jobs, in order to end this type of discrimination.
We are tired of the absurd claim that your religious freedom is under persecution. It would almost be more respectable to just state “we hate queers” instead of playing the victim card. There is no threat to your religious liberty – you simply have a responsibility to serve the people in your community, including the LGBT members you so love to marginalize.
I, on behalf of GWOG, would like to declare today, Sunday, April 10th, as Bruce Springsteen day. We have the utmost respect for any celebrity who would lend their influence to such a worthy cause. Bruce has been a vocal supporter of gay rights since the mid-90’s, and even featured a man struggling with AIDS in his video for the song “Streets of Philadelphia.”