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San Francisco Symphony replaces cancelled North Carolina gig with ‘Symphony Pride’

Joseph McCormick February 27, 2017
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The San Francisco Symphony has replaced a cancelled performance in North Carolina over the state’s anti-LGBT law with a ‘Symphony Pride’ night.

The law, which effectively rolled back local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances, has been widely condemned from within the state and externally.

It also bans transgender people from using gender-appropriate bathrooms, if the bathroom corresponds to anything other than their sex at birth.

bathroom cred flickr

Despite wide condemnation of the law by the NBA, NCAA, other organisations and a number of celebrities, former Governor Pat McCrory continued to defend it until he was defeated in his election last year.

Two dates set for North Carolina have been cancelled by the Symphony and represent half of the Symphony’s East Coast tour.

Michael Tilson Thomas, the orchestra’s music director has now announced that the orchestra will hold a ‘Symphony Pride’ night in place of the NC gig.

The gala night will highlight the contributions of LGBT composers, and that it will raise money for four LGBT organisations.

“It just seemed to me to be something that would have happened a number of times,” Thomas, who is gay, tells the New York Times.

“But as it turns out, no, as far as we know it hasn’t happened.”

The concert will take place on 4 April at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Funds raised will go to the Larkin Street Youth Services, the Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Trevor Project.

Executive Director Brent Assink told SFGate that the orchestra had started talking about cancelling the tour after HB2 passed in March.

He said: “It was my job to initiate that conversation, and ultimately the decision was mine… But it was done with the full backing of (Music Director) Michael (Tilson Thomas) and the board.

“But none of this happened in a vacuum. We also looked carefully at what the state and city were doing. Mayor Lee’s decision really got our attention.”

Former governor McCrory had suggested that lawmakers in the state would consider its repeal, but the law remains in place.

The General Assembly isn’t set to reconvene until January, but special sessions were called earlier this year to rush thought HB2.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts was apparently considering the options they have. She was a strong supporter of the ordinance to protect LGBT rights.

The move by Pat McCrory has been condemned by the Human Rights Campaign.

Executive JoDee Winterhof called the proposed deal a “cheap trick”.

Earlier this year the state took a hit as a judge ruled that the University of North Carolina can’t use HB2 to block trans people from accessing gender-appropriate bathrooms.

This was followed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) saying the state cannot host any games.

The ruling, only temporary, has been considered a huge defeat for the proponents of HB2.

Earlier this year, the University of Vermont pulled a game with the University of North Carolina, voicing concerns over HB2.

The NBA announced that it had opted to move its 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, in protest against the state’s anti-LGBT HB2, which was introduced this year.

The league previously said it was “deeply concerned” by North Carolina’s recently passed HB2, which rolled back pre-existing LGBT rights protections.

It was thought that HB2 would be repealed or revised in North Carolina, but lawmakers in the state last month adjourned, leaving the law barely changed.

Previously tweeting, the NBA said it was “deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principals of equality and mutual respect and do not know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte.”

“It would be easy to say we’re moving it,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver clarified.

“We feel there’s a constructive role for the league to play. If we announce we’re moving it now, what’s the incentive to change the law?”

Hundreds of business leaders have urged the repeal of North Carolina’s HB2, and multiple celebrities have pulled out of appearances, including Ringo Starr and, Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen was even accused of using “bully tactics” for cancelling the concert by one of the state’s Representatives.

But dozens of celebrities and hundreds of fans came to the defence of Springsteen, commending him for taking a stand.

Related topics: hb2, North Carolina, pat mccrory, US

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