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

The protest against House Bill 2 has moved beyond signs and marches, and people are now using beer and concerts to make their feelings known.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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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