Kathryn Lindsay
May 16, 2016 10:41 am

Laura Jane Grace, the frontwoman of the band Against Me!, made huge waves last night at their show in Durham, North Carolina when she burned her birth certificate live on stage, according to The Washington Post. As a trans woman, Laura Jane’s extremely powerful statement is one of many ways artists have protested North Carolina’s recent attempt to legalize discrimination against transgender folks.

In March, North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, known colloquially as the “bathroom bill.” Among other things, this bill forces them to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Laura, who came out as trans herself in 2012, knew that canceling her show (like Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Bruce Springsteen did) wouldn’t have the same effect, so she took the opportunity to educate the sold-out Motorco Music Hall.

“The way you affect change is by empowering the grassroots movement, by empowering the people,” she told the audience before lighting her birth certificate on fire for all to see. As the Post reports, Laura explained an aspect of HB2 that is getting less attention — taking away a transgender person’s right to due for discrimination:

Laura isn’t alone in her abhorrence of the bill. When it was first passed, North Caroline residents took to Twitter with the hashtag #WeAreNotThis in order to distance themselves from the decision. Later, the Department of Justice claimed that the bill violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act, kicking off a legal battle that we hope results in equal opportunity and respect for all — lest any more birth certificates have to be burned.

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