Column: 'The Boss' has made his decision on North Carolina

In this Feb. 12, 2016 file photo, Bruce Springsteen performs in concert with the E Street Band during their "The River Tour 2016" at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Springsteen has canceled his concert in North Carolina, citing the state's new law blocking anti-discrimination rules covering the LGBT community. In a statement on his website Friday, April 8, 2016, Springsteen said he was canceling the concert scheduled for Sunday in Greensboro because of the law, which critics say discriminates against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

In this Feb. 12, 2016 file photo, Bruce Springsteen performs in concert with the E Street Band during their "The River Tour 2016" at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Springsteen has canceled his concert in North Carolina, citing the state's new law blocking anti-discrimination rules covering the LGBT community. In a statement on his website Friday, April 8, 2016, Springsteen said he was canceling the concert scheduled for Sunday in Greensboro because of the law, which critics say discriminates against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

“The Boss” has made his decision on North Carolina, and it is definitely the best one.

Hall-of-Famer Bruce Springsteen decided to cancel his show in Greensboro, North Carolina on Sunday because of the discriminatory bill that was recently passed by the legislature there. Springsteen is using his position of influence to positively change the world, a decision for which he deserves praise.

The discriminatory bill that North Carolina passed is one of many “bathroom bills” that are sweeping across conservative states. The law, known officially as House Bill 2 (or HB2) is a direct response to an ordinance passed by the city of Charlotte to protect the rights of transgender people, including the right to use the bathroom corresponding to their respective gender.

HB2 restricts this anti-discrimination legislation under the guise that politicians are trying to protect citizens from those that might wish to cause harm to those in the bathrooms. The Charlotte Observer showed the law removes almost all protection LGBTQ+ people have under the law, as they are not listed as protected people of the state. 

Many groups and celebrities have spoken out against this law, including Bruce Springsteen. In a statement on his website, Springsteen said that he won’t be playing the show because some things are more important that music (http://brucespringsteen.net/). He went on to say, “I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters” and with all of those affected by the law.

This law does nothing to protect the citizens of the state; as of today there are zero cases of a transgender person using a bathroom to assault someone else. The politicians of North Carolina wanted to create a way to segregate the LGBTQ+ population of the state because the majority of these politicians hold social views aligning with the far right.

Lawmakers are trying to push back against Supreme Court decisions which extended more rights to the LGBTQ+ community, especially in terms of marriage rights. Not only is HB2 discriminatory, but according to members of law enforcement, it is not enforceable, as reported in Business Insider. Without any way to check peoples’ gender before they enter bathrooms, the law is virtually useless.

Bruce Springsteen should be applauded for his decision to boycott the state and cancel his show in the wake of this bill passing. Celebrities have an interesting place in modern society. The public criticizes them whenever they make some kind of mistake, big or small. 

People are quick to say that we shouldn’t care about what they do; yet at the same time we seem to look to them for guidance in trying situations and follow their examples much of the time. Springsteen understands his position and knows that when he speaks out against bigotry many will listen. Some fans may be critical of Springsteen, but their voices will be drowned out by his influence. 

Springsteen isn’t the only one who is speaking out against this law. Connecticut has signed a law banning all state-funded travel to North Carolina, seeing the law as dangerous to citizens in North Carolina and citizens all over the country. Ellen DeGeneres has publicly spoken out against the ban on Twitter, voicing support for Springsteen’s decision. Each of her tweets has gained hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes.

North Carolina is also losing out on money as businesses and groups begin to leave. A report from the Guardian showed the eBay subsidiary, PayPal elected to move business from North Carolina, including over 400 planned jobs after HB2 passed. In an effort to enforce something that does not need to be enforced, North Carolina has threatened their economy and the livelihood of North Carolinians. 

North Carolina politicians are trying to remain in the past, even as society moves forward. Not only is their reasoning to ban transgender people from using restrooms of their gender completely unfounded, it is also detrimental to the good of the state.

If North Carolina is not going to stand up for the rights of their residents, then Bruce Springsteen and other influential voices will – even if that means North Carolinians don’t see a Springsteen concert anytime in the near future.


Amar Batra is a contributor to the Daily Campus opinion section, and is also a staff photographer. He can be reached via email at amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.