North Carolina has recently enacted the House Bill 2 (HB2)—a hugely controversial, anti-LGBTQ+ law that greatly discriminates against the trans-community. In response, many protestors (e.g. Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr) have canceled their events in the State. However, trans-punk rock icon Laura Jane Grace has taken a different approach: her band, Against Me!, will perform their concert on May 15 in North Carolina as a form of protest. Read what Grace had to say about her and her band's decision below.

Read more: Against Me!‘s Laura Jane Grace to release memoir Tranny

“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. They are not going to go away,” Graces says to BuzzFeed. “An attack by a transgender person against another person in a bathroom has never been documented. There are more incidents of straight senators having issues in bathrooms than transgender people.”



Visibility is key in this protest. “I think the real danger with HB2 is that it creates a target on transgender people specifically,” Grace says. “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.”

Along with hurting LGBTQ+ people's workplace community rights, HB2—dubbed the “bathroom bill”—forces transgender people to use the bathroom associated with the sex assigned on their birth certificate. Grace will be working with local organizations to table at the concert, dispensing information to those not familiar with the issue. 

Even though her protest methods are different than Springsteen and Bryan Adams—who also canceled his concert in Mississippi to protest a discriminatory LGBTQ+ law—Grace commends them as allies. “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.”

However, Grace acknowledges that the transgender people already living in North Carolina don't have the option to protest the State. “They live here. They pay taxes. They are prisoners to it,” she says. Instead, the Against Me! show can be their protest medium.

“This is all kind of happening in the moment,” Grace says. “I’m doing what I can do and I’ll make the most of going to North Carolina.”

Here are tweets from Grace at the end of March addressing the issue, announcing that Against Me! will still play the show in Durham:

Kevin Lyman also announced on Twitter today that Warped Tour will keep its date in North Carolina, mirroring Grace and Against Me!'s protest methods and asking for groups to dispense information about equal rights:

Watch more: APTV Acoustic Session: Laura Jane Grace – “True Trans Soul Rebel”