Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace promised in March that the punk band would not cancel their May 15 show in Durham, North Carolina, despite new legislation mandating transgender people use the bathroom corresponding with the gender they were assigned at birth. Grace, who is trans, made good on her pledge to use the gig as “an act of protest” on Sunday night by burning her birth certificate during Against Me!’s set.
“Goodbye, gender!” Grace shouted with a smile as she ignited her birth certificate on stage at Durham’s Motorco Music Hall. “The way you affect change is by empowering the grassroots movement, by empowering the people,” Grace told the audience, according to the Washington Post.
When Grace first affirmed Against Me! would play the concert as planned, she wrote on Twitter that she was “even more eager to play North Carolina “cause of the bill” and encouraged activist groups to attend the event in solidarity.
Numerous other musicians have either condemned North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act or canceled shows in the state outright because of it. Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato, and Ringo Starr have decided not to play in North Carolina, while artists such as Beyoncé and Mumford and Sons have used their gigs in the state to raise awareness about the law.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the Department of Justice sued each other on May 9 over whether the state’s legislation violates federal civil rights laws.
Grace chronicled her experience coming out as trans on Against Me!’s 2014 album Transgender Dysphoria Blues and will release her memoir Tranny later this year. See footage of her burning her birth certificate at Sunday’s North Carolina concert below.