“If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman. My mother once told me she would have named me Laura. I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.” –“The Ocean” from the album New Wave
Against Me! is one of the biggest punk rock bands to break out of the underground scene to the mainstream charts in the past decade and a half. In the past few months they have been touring heavily with their most recent release Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
Being around for more than 15 years Against Me! has been the go to band for heavy sounds, growling vocals and deeply political lyrics. It is punk music in the millennium. And what is more punk rock than a six foot trans woman wailing into a mic in Doc Martens and a sleek black dress?
While Against Me! has been thrashing around with five studio albums before the release of Transgender Dysphoria Blues, front woman Laura Jane Grace has been in the news quite a bit in the past two years since coming out and declaring herself as transsexual. Formerly Tom Gabel, Laura has received a lot of support from her fans and the music community.
To go along with their most recent tour, it was also announced that Against Me! just added another date to their busy schedule, playing a free outdoor show in Toronto as part of the city’s Trans* Pride celebration. The show will take place at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 27 as part of the Trans* Pride Post March Showcase. Local acts the Cliks and Crackpuppy will also be part of the showcase.
An activist from a very early age, Laura Jane Grace went from singing about being a “teenage anarchist” and evolving into more personal songs like “True Trans Soul Rebel” and giving everyone who wants to listen a sneak peek into the hard choice to go public with her very real battle with gender dysphoria.
“Your tells are so obvious, shoulders too broad for a girl. It keeps you reminded, helps you remember where you come from.” title track form Transgender Dysphoria Blues
A mother and wife Laura certainly found the transition to be initially difficult but now she is able to sing as herself without hiding a very real part of herself. Laura Jane Grace has never really held back in the past but it’s clear now that she truly doesn’t give a shit and feels more liberated in using music as a much more cathartic release while telling her story.
It doesn’t get more punk rock than that.
Make sure you check out Against Me! thrash the stage at Yonge-Dundas Square around 8:30pm after the trans* march. And check out my post World Pride review of Against Me!’s show.