Bryan Adams Mississippi Boycott Comes After Recent Egypt Show
Bryan Adams Cancels Mississippi Show Over New Anti-Gay Law
Canadian Bryan Adams, the musician that loves 1969 probably more than any human alive, has joined Bruce Springsteen in cancelling a show over anti-gay laws that are creeping into the United States.
“Mississippi has passed anti-LGBT ‘Religious Liberty’ bill 1523. I find it incomprehensible that LGBT citizens are being discriminated against in the state of Mississippi. I cannot in good conscience perform in a State where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation. Therefore i’m cancelling my 14 April show at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Using my voice I stand in solidarity with all my LGBT friends to repeal this extremely discriminatory bill. Hopefully Mississippi will right itself and I can come back and perform for all of my many fans. I look forward to that day. – Bryan Adams #stop1523″
Indeed, the stance is admirable and he has stood up for a good cause. He has also received a tremendous amount of praise on social media for his stance, becoming somewhat of a hero for LGBT rights in America.
I find it ironic that those who are denying service and rights to people who are gay are angry that Bryan Adams is canceling a concert.
— Elaine T. Shaffer (@AUNTIELANELANE) April 11, 2016
Mississippi’s new law, which goes into effect on July 1, is absolutely draconian, putting religious “rights” above human rights and giving businesses and corporations the right to deny service to people because of their sexual orientation, and even “clears the way for employers to cite religion in determining workplace policies on dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access,” as CBC states.
The Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, signed the bill into law in order “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by state government.”
Who in “good conscience” could possibly support this? It’s fair to look at what is happening in Mississippi and want to protest this serious set-back when it comes to LGBT rights in the name of “religious freedom.”
Good Work, Bryan, But There Are A Few Questions To Be Asked
However, there is a small problem in the stance Bryan Adams is taking: Inconsistency and hypocrisy. This isn’t to say that Bryan Adams is a terrible person who should be defined as nothing but a hypocrite and his actions in the case should be written off. They shouldn’t be. His contribution to the debate is positive and welcome. However, it also raises other questions that shouldn’t be ignored.
Bryan Adams has performed all over the world, and some of the countries he has performed in like Qatar have anti-gay laws where people are actually thrown into jail for up to 3 years and/or can receive lashes. These laws came under a level of scrutiny when they were awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but has largely gone ignored since.
It was only recently that Bryan Adams played a show in Egypt (and complained about his vintage guitar being damaged by customs officials there), a country where human rights abuses are frequent and where being gay has become a scary affair according to The Advocate as the current government cracks down on the LGBT community.
“Although homosexuality is technically not illegal in Egypt, LGBT people are regularly prosecuted for crimes such as “debauchery,” “perversion,” or “sexual practices against Islam.””
Where was his voice just a few weeks ago, speaking out for LGBT Egyptians? How was he able, in good conscience, to ignore the brutality being faced by the LGBT community there?
The question is, are the lives of gays in Mississippi more valuable than the lives of gays in Qatar or Egypt? To go onto a stage in a country where being gay can mean a lengthy prison sentence without saying a word, but making a stand on Mississippi sends a mixed message. Are LGBT lives less valuable when they are in Qatar? Or in Egypt?
When a “terrorist” attack happens in Europe or “The West” and there is an outpouring of grief and solidarity, the question is legitimately asked, “What about the solidarity and grief when it comes to attacks in the Middle East and Africa?”
So, the same question arises in this case. What about the solidarity and outrage about how gays are treated in a country like Qatar? These are people stuck under a theocratic, dictatorial regime punishing gays with jail time and brutality dictated by religion. Yet, outside few seem to want to speak out in support of them and their governments go without criticism. Why?
Bryan Adams has done right by not playing in Mississippi as did Bruce Springsteen when he chose not to play in North Carolina for similar reasons. But, when will more artists, actors and other prominent people start doing right when it comes to the abuses being faced by LGBT’s in so many other countries in the world, those folks without voices, where no big stars are speaking out for them and showing solidarity? Gay lives matter, and they should matter everywhere.
[brid video=”33125″ player=”5199″ title=”Love and fear define Ramy Youssef s life in Cairo”]
Feature image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images