Anyone with a working knowledge of this site will be aware that all the Wizards are massive fans of Bruce Springsteen and are incredibly excited at the prospect of seeing him on his latest visit to these shores in Coventry and Manchester this year and bought tickets on the day they were released. However on 9th April 2016 Bruce Springsteen announced that he is cancelling his concert in Greensboro North Carolina in protest over the ‘Bathroom Law”. Bruce has stated that this is “an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognising the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress”.
Well whats that all about? After some research I find that the “Bathroom Law” is a law that prevents people from using toilets of the gender that they were not at their birth. The background to the Law is complex, many, including it seems Bruce, feel that this is part of a climate of bullying against LGBT people and a way of making their lives more difficult as it would force someone who has has a complete sex change to use the mens lavatories. Not that I have ever really thought about it but, on balance I am probably against that.
However reading further on in 2014, the Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education said federal student non-discrimination law covered sexual identity, and federal officials have said school districts that do not allow transgender students to use bathrooms assigned to the gender with which they identify are violating those students’ civil rights. So at a national level the government have made all schools make provision for transitioning students to use the bathroom (and of course changing room) they identify with, so to speak. This has problems for states who worry about an increase in claims from transgender people for not providing gender neutral bathrooms.
So you can see this as, A) a clash of ideologies between enlightened free thinkers who want to express their sexual individualism against the forces of religious conservatism that fundamentally disapprove of those lifestyles or B) an attempt by state bureaucrats to stave off legal claims from disgruntled transgender or transitioning people.
On a practical level while I would not want a person who has had a sex change to be forced to use the bathroom designated to the biological sex however, neither am I that enthusiastic on allowing people to choose which bathroom they use based on the gender they identify with at the time. After all what is the qualifying criteria for this and how committed do you have to be to the new gender identity and for how long? In addition what seems to be missed here is the position of women in all this? are they happy for men to have the right to have access to their bathrooms when they choose to identify as a female? I don’t know why, but I am not that keen on Women having the right of getting into my bathroom when they are transitioning into their new male sexuality, after all why can’t she continue in the other bathroom so as not to interrupt the flow so to speak.
The more I look into the bill its seems to be riddled with confusion and complications and I think its an area that all involved could probably negotiate perfectly well without legislation, if only life was that simple. However where does this leave me and Bruce as politically I can’t think of a time when I have not been inspired by his political involvement, thinking about his response to 9/11, calling Woody Gutheries “This Land is Our Land” the American national Anthem, his opposition to the Iraq war to name a few. In short Bruce consistently gave a voice to political concerns I absolutely shared you could say that “we walked together side by side” and it felt good.
But on this one I am less than enthusiastic to the point where I think I disagree with Bruce.
In addition what is Bruce hoping to achieve? He punished his fans in North Carolina by not allowing them to see him play? or as he puts is on his web site “I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters”. I do not mean to trivialise the plight of transgender people but I am not sure that those people who have laid their lives on the line fighting violent and oppressive regimes would feel that their Freedom Fighting activity was comparable with someone wanting to use the alternative bathroom, Its hardly The Sandinistas is it! Would Bruce not be better served to hold back his most dramatic gesture for bigger causes after all he never cancelled a concert when America invaded Iraq or any other time as far as I am aware.
Anyway even East Street has two ways, between audience and artist, they can boycott us but we can also boycott them! I have enjoyed the warm glow of Springsteen Concerts sharing communal celebration with like minded souls for 3 decades. Well now of course that might not be the case, i have taken for granted that we have shared the same dreams and visions and were driven by the same passion and desire musically and more importantly philosopically. Lets be honest when you believe in something, heart and soul, you cannot caveat sections out, be 75% in love, life does not work like that. So the concert experience will not be the same and I have to face the fact that maybe these ties no longer bind.
There will be much soul searching in the next few week before I make my decision to boycott the Coventry concert and if Bruce wants to put some flesh on the bones of his very brief statement to help me understand then that would help, he knows where I am or maybe i should say “and if he wants to see me you can tell him that I easy to find….There is truly a darkness at the edge of town!!!
Bruce I have loved all the time we have spent together but it maybe time for us to take a break (which is really annoying because The River is my favourite Album).
This is how obsessed with Bruce the Wizards are!