Cirque du Soleil has cancelled all of its North Carolina performances due to a recently passed law that many argue promotes discrimination against transgender citizens, according to Politico.
The law prevents cities and counties from creating policies to protect people of specific gender identities, and it enforces that citizens in state schools must go to bathrooms according to the gender written on their birth certificate. The law is called House Bill 2, or HB2.
“Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form,” the company said in a Facebook post, citing the North Carolina law. “Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all. It is a principle that guides us with both our employees and our customers. We behave as change agents to reach our ultimate goal of making a better world with our actions and our productions.”
The company has over 4,000 employees and is based in Quebec, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Cirque du Soleil is not the only group deciding to cancel shows in North Carolina because of this law. Bruce Springsteen cancelled a show in Greensboro over North Carolina’s new law.
“North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the ‘bathroom’ law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace,” he wrote on his website. “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.”
Another music act, Ringo Starr, cancelled a show in Cary, North Carolina over the law.
“I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love,” Starr said in a statement, according to Entertainment Weekly. “How sad that they feel that this group of people cannot be defended.”
That being said, some performers have opted to do their shows in North Carolina and use some of their time on stage to speak out against the law. Joel McHale and Cyndi Lauper performed in North Carolina recently, and they explained what they thought about the law and pushed for it to be repealed.
Beyond performers, politicians and others have found ways to protest North Carolina’s HB2.
An LGBT rights group called The Human Rights Campaign also got dozens of business executives to sign a letter urging North Carolina’s governor to repeal the law, according to ABC.
Nearly 20 cities have banned traveling to North Carolina using government funds, including Atlanta, Boston and Chicago.
North Carolina’s law is currently being challenged in court, and it is very similar to a law that recently passed in Mississippi. Some have argued these laws could be contested to the point where the Supreme Court would need to intervene. Though some lawmakers argue the North Carolina law is meant to prevent predators from going into women’s bathrooms by saying they’re transgender, there hasn’t been any clear evidence of such a situation occurring.
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