The Cirque won’t be coming to North Carolina; GLAAD urges Nashville to take a stand in Tennessee

Cirque du Soleil's iconic Grand Chapiteau, or big top. The Cirque won't be coming to North Carolina. (Cirque du Soleil/Facebook)
Cirque du Soleil’s iconic Grand Chapiteau, or big top. The Cirque won’t be taking its shows to North Carolina. (Photo: Cirque du Soleil/Facebook)

Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives

QUEBEC — Kudos to Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil for taking a stand against North Carolina’s recent anti-LGBT legislation. The Cirque has cancelled two of its touring shows in that state in protest: Ovo, which was scheduled to play in Greensboro from April 20-24 and Charlotte from July 6-10; and Toruk — The First Flight, which was scheduled to play Raleigh from June 22-26.

Other performers who have cancelled shows there include Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Ani DiFranco, while Canadian rocker Bryan Adams cancelled his concert in Tennessee this week in protest against that state’s anti-LGBT legislation.

Some performers, including Cyndi Lauper and Louis C.K., who have gigs scheduled in North Carolina feel the show must go on regardless of the anti-LGBT legislation, but are vowing to donate profits from their performances to Equality North Carolina, the Canadian Press reported today.

Against Me frontwoman Laura Jane Grace says she and her band will perform in North Carolina next month, and plans to work with local activists to create a protest event. According to an article on A.V. Club site, she says now is not the time for trans people to go into hiding: “Visibility is more important than ever; to go there and have the platform of a stage to stand on and speak your mind and represent yourself.”

Country performer Jimmy Buffet has also said he will perform in North Carolina despite the law. “These shows (this month) were booked and sold out long before the governor signed that stupid law,” he said. “I am not going to let stupidity or bigotry trump fun for my loyal fans this year.”

But he has indicated he will hold off on booking future shows in that state as law as the anti-LGBT legislation is law.

Meanwhile, GLAAD is calling on LGBT supporters to “call on the Nashville music industry to take a stand against the discriminatory bills pending in Tennessee.”

It urges you to Make your voice heard! Use #NashvilleSpeakUp on Twitter to urge the record companies of Nashville to do the right thing and take a stand against discrimination.

And so it goes: The numbers of cancellations and boycotts grow, as good people take a stand against discrimination and injustice — and ignorance and irrational fear, because a large part of the anti-LGBT sentiment in places like North Carolina and Tennessee is about ignorance and fear, as I tried to explain in the preceding post here. There is no doubt that a small number of right-wing bigots have succeeded in creating apprehension, confusion and fear in people who might otherwise not appear to be so intolerant.

Here is Cirque du Soleil’s announcement on Facebook.

“Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form. The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all. We therefore choose to cancel our scheduled performances of OVO in Greensboro (April 20-24) and our scheduled performances in Charlotte (July 6-10) and our scheduled performances of TORUK – Avatar in Raleigh (June 22-26)

“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.

“We sincerely hope that the customers that have purchased tickets for our performances in North Carolina will understand our motivation and we look forward to performing in North Carolina when this issue is addressed. On-line and phone ticket purchases will be automatically reimbursed and in-person purchases must return to point of purchase for refunds. Customer service can be reached at 1-877-924-7783.”

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