From beer to concerts, protesters find new ways to oppose HB2

Posted April 20
Updated April 21

— The battle over House Bill 2 continues to pit sides against each other across North Carolina, and on Wednesday, the battle took on a new form.

The protest has moved beyond signs and marches, and people are now using beer and concerts to make their feelings known.

“What we need to do is support people,” said Keil Jansen with Ponysaurus Brewing Company.

Jansen and many of his friends are using their talent of brewing beer to make a statement about House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the restroom associated with their birth gender, excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections and bars cities and counties from extending protections to them.

“This is causing pain and suffering and inequality in our community, and what we want to do is support the people that are the target of that,” Jansen said.

The people at Ponysaurus Brewing Company in Durham and Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough had an idea to concoct a beer called “Don’t Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule,” in protest of the legislation. A fundraiser to produce the drink surpassed its goal nearly 25 times over, and sales are booming, with purchases from as far away as Hawaii and Alaska.

“The beer has already sold out. We are now looking at brewing another batch and possibly bringing in other breweries to help brew to keep up with demand,” Jansen said.

The protest beer is currently in the fermentation stage and should be canned within 10 days. Roughly 40 breweries have offered some form of support for the project.

In Raleigh, Grayson Haver Currin is bringing attention to House Bill 2 in other ways. He is an organizer of a weekly air horn protest outside the Executive Mansion.

“People are really excited about trying to help the state,” he said.

At the same time, Currin is trying to avoid boycotts over House Bill 2, particularly entertainers canceling shows in North Carolina over the law.

Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam and Boston were among bands who canceled upcoming shows in the state, but Currin has another idea.

“We can use those shows to raise money and awareness,” he said.

He calls the program “North Carolina Needs You,” and it encourages performers to play their dates and give the proceeds to groups fighting House Bill 2.

“They can come to this state, they can play their shows, and the hope is to turn boycotts into benefits,” Currin said.

Singer Cyndi Lauper previously announced that her June 4 show at Raleigh’s Duke Energy Performing Arts Center will be turned into a “day to build public support to repeal HB2” and said all proceeds from the show will be donated to Equality North Carolina.


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  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 22, 9:05 a.m.
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    Let's skip the discussion about the Red Herring a.k.a. the bathroom protection nonsense.

    HB2 denies protection to the ENTIRE LGBT community and legally allows discrimination against them. The bathroom thing is just a silly cover to allow bigotry to continue. A gay person can be denied a job solely based on the fact they are gay, and no other reason, and that person has no recourse under the law. That is discrimination.

    Let's keep the focus here: HB2 is dicrimination.

  • Christian Knott Apr 21, 3:58 p.m.
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    I'd LOVE to be the keynote spokesperson! Thank you for the nomination!

  • Michael Bawden Apr 21, 3:39 p.m.
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    Have not heard a lot of boo hooing about the cancelled concerts and shows. I have also seen a lot more ads for entertainers that are still doing their shows. Does that mean the entertainers are FOR HB2? Or are they desperate for the MONEY. Have not heard ONE person disappointed about some concert or event going away. Is the Bluegrass Festival still going to be held? If Raleigh Council was really serious about protesting HB2, they should cancel Artsplosure. Replace it with a Rev. Barber Moral Monday March! Have Christian Knott(fake name, fake person), be the keynote speaker!

  • Scooter Barrette Apr 21, 2:27 p.m.
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    Iam, anyone claiming to be the "anti-satan" is most certainly the anti-christ. Your argument is invalid.

  • Iam Theantisatan Apr 21, 2:04 p.m.
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    Christian, Knott, why are you are so insistent on agreeing with what a convicted child molester wants?

    LGBT Chamber president is a convicted pedophile


  • B.c. Jimmy Apr 21, 1:15 p.m.
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    If you want to smoke marijuana, move to Colorado. If you identify as a woman but are a man who wants to use the women's locker room at the YMCA, move to a place where it is acceptable.

  • Matt Nickeson Apr 21, 12:14 p.m.
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    I don't think that "Christian" is inclined to engage in an actual debate consisting of an exchange of ideas and possibly leading to resolution of an issue. Every time that I have engaged "Christian" I have exclusively been met with straw man arguments, ad hominem attacks, or snarky non-sequiturs. I am an optimist in regards to re-introducing civility to public discourse so I keep on and do hope that even if "Christian" doesn't engage in civil discourse that others will be encourage to. Even...especially... those with positions other than my own.

  • Steve Clark Apr 21, 11:28 a.m.
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    It's 'special consideration' when you are legally defined as a male, wishing to be allowed access to the female locker room when other legal males, are not.

    You keep bringing up the very people that Have Been using the other room for decades.. but you refuse to answer the question. Which person with a penis is allowed to change clothes with girls.. and which one isn't... AND.. who decides (how should it be enforced)?

    I'm honestly trying to compromise here "obviously knott a Christian"... I recognize that TG's have been around for decades and have been using the other locker room.. I don't think either law was 'needed'... do you?.. honestly?

    I like your idea of a counselor issuing a card... but you know how that would be spun in the media. I'm sincerely asking your input.. help define which person with a penis is allowed to change clothes with the girls (as in the VA school locker room)

  • Steve Clark Apr 21, 11:23 a.m.
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    Scooter... please address locker rooms, where women and girls are actively changing clothes. and please address the original Charlotte ordinance, that did NOT define which person with a penis is allowed to change clothes in the girls locker room.

  • Christian Knott Apr 21, 11:17 a.m.
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    It really isn't special consideration to want to go to the bathroom. It isn's special consideration when you are a female on male hormones with a beard and hairy chest to want to avoid trouble by going to the mens room or a feminine male to female with hormone enhanced breasts and long hair to wish for the privacy of the female stalls. is it?