Laura Jane Grace, founder of punk band Against Me! and outspoken transgender woman, recently took part in a no holds barred interview with NPR. With discussions such as what it means to be a man or a woman, a turbulent and angry childhood, and the punk scene, host Terry Gross goes all out when interviewing Grace.
The conversation between the two is relaxed, respectful, and full of intelligent quips from the Against Me! musician. One of the first things discussed is when Grace burned her birth certificate in response to House Bill 2 which served to stop transgender people from using bathrooms which matched their actual gender. On the issue, Grace states quite passionately that the whole thing (gender roles included) is “ridiculous”, “dehumansing”, and “cruel”.
Gross covers things you’d expect to find in an interview with a transgender musician but it doesn’t feel too probing. Things such as “passing” as a woman, how it’s affected her stage persona, gender dysphoria, what it’s like to be trans in the public eye, and her birth name (what the trans community call a “dead name”) are all willingly discussed with Grace.
Excerpts are also read from Grace’s 2016 memoir titled Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout (which you can buy here). On the word “tranny”, Grace says: “I don’t use the word, I don’t like it referred to myself, but at the same time I’m an artist […] and as a writer any word that has that much power, I’m going to be drawn to and want to explore. So much of my book is about self-hatred, internalised transphobia, that it’s a fitting title”.
Listen to and enjoy the full interview below: