North Carolina anti-LGBT law: Sir Elton John joins protesters

The passing of discriminatory law has led to boycotts by big businesses and celebrities

Elton John
(Image credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for dcp)

Lawmakers in the US state of North Carolina are coming under increasing pressure from celebrities, businesses and politicians to scrap legislation affecting gay and transgender people.

Elton John is the latest star to attack the law passed earlier this year that removes protections for LGBT people and bans trans people from using public toilets that match their gender identity.

"This brand of ignorance deliberately shuts out the perspective of an already marginalised community," the singer writes in The Hill. "It's dangerous, and it goes beyond bathrooms."

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Sir Elton argues that forcing trans people to use the public toilets of a gender with which they don't identify "isn't just inconvenient or impractical" – for many it can be "traumatic" and unsafe.

"[North Carolina governor Pat] McCrory and others who support these discriminatory bathroom bills need to reverse course, but moreover, they need a lesson in compassion," he says.

"They need to recognise the existence of trans people and they need to acknowledge that all people have a fundamental desire – and a fundamental right – to be treated fairly."

President Barack Obama has said the state law is "wrong and should be overturned" and even Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump says trans people should be able to use whichever bathroom they choose.

Here are five other people and businesses who have protested against the legislation and are boycotting the state as a result:

Bruce Springsteen

"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," the musician said, after cancelling a show in Greensboro last week. Springsteen added that a boycott "is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards". He apologised to disappointed fans and promised their tickets would be refunded.


The California-based company, which has been ranked the most LGBT-friendly firm in the world, has cancelled plans to open a global operations centre, which would have employed 400 people, in the city of Charlotte. "The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion," said president and chief executive Dan Schulman. "Our decision is a clear and unambiguous one."

Other politicians

New York and several other US states have banned all non-essential government-funded travel to North Carolina in protest. "In New York, we believe that all people - regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation - deserve the same rights and protections under the eyes of the law," said governor Andrew Cuomo. "From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past."

Deutsche Bank

The German finance giant has frozen plans to expand in the state, which would have created 250 new jobs in the Cary municipality. "We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously," said ‪‎John Cryan, the co-chief executive officer. "As a result of this legislation, we are unwilling to include North Carolina in our US expansion plans for now." The bank hoped it would be able to revisit its plans for growth "in the near future".

Porn site

Even one of America's most popular porn sites has joined the protests, blocking anyone with a North Carolina IP address from accessing the website. In an attempt to highlight the "incredible hypocrisy" of the law, North Carolinians who attempted to log on were met with a screen showing the type of porn content streamed by users in the state – with gay and transgender both ranking highly. "Judging by the stats of what you North Carolinians watch, we feel this punishment is a severe one," said a company spokesperson.

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