An infamous new law mandates that people in North Carolina must use public bathrooms that align with the sex marked on their birth certificate. Some musicians have boycotted the state in protest of the discriminatory law, but Grace decided to show up and speak out in person.
At the Motorco Music Hall in Durham, Grace set her birth certificate on fire in front of a sold-out crowd of over 400 people. “Bye, gender!” she said as the document burned.
Grace came out as transgender via a pivotal Rolling Stone story in 2012. Since then, she’s championed for trans rights and spoken openly about her experience as a trans woman through her music and her writing.
Many touring musicians have addressed North Carolina’s new bill in recent weeks. Bruce Springsteen opted to boycott the state and skip his Greensboro concert; Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas also chose not to perform in North Carolina as a gesture of solidarity. Beyoncé performed in Raleigh earlier this month, but posted a statement on her website in support of those fighting the discriminatory law.
As a trans musician herself, Grace figured she would make a more powerful statement by showing up for her fans in North Carolina. “Bruce Springsteen pulling out of a concert has a noticeable financial effect,” she told The Washington Post. “That’s lost revenue for the city. No one will notice that much if I cancel the show; it only hurts the fans and the people who have already bought tickets, and the people who could possibly be educated in a situation like that.”
Burning her birth certificate was definitely a powerful symbol of resistance. “The way you affect change is by empowering the grassroots movement,” Grace said during the concert. “By empowering the people.”