Laura Jane Grace - True Trans (Episode 2) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Laura Jane Grace

True Trans (Episode 2) (2014)

AOL Originals

The second episode of True Trans with Laura Jane Grace, entitled “Gender Dysphoria, focuses on Laura’s and other people’s experiences facing the fact that they are transgender. In the introduction Laura talks about how when she was very young she wanted to be like Madonna when she saw her performing on TV. The interviews focus on other trans people like who also felt like they were not born with the right gender and how they felt out of place when they participated in the activities society expected them to. Most of the interviewees admit to not knowing that these feelings of displacement were legitimate at all or that that the terms “gender dysphoria” and “transgender” even existed. Laura explains it as a feeling of “misalignment between the way you feel and the way other people perceive you. A feeling like that your gender does not line up with your assigned gender as birth.”

All four of the released episodes show Laura playing instrumental versions of the songs off Transgender Dysphoria Blues with her gorgeous Rickenbacker 370 as a break between scenes.

This episode also delves into how, like Laura, interviewees began to struggle with their gender identities at a very young age and how they were treated by their parents assuming they even felt comfortable enough to bring it up to their parents. Some of the parents expected them to act “normal,” while other parents would force them into therapy.

They also talk about how puberty for trans people seemed like torture. Most of them were very unhappy and some were even suicidal for a large majority of their lives, having to resort to drugs and alcohol in order to cope.

When Laura was asked in a radio interview in this episode, “Is it possible this record maybe needed to happen more than any other Against Me! record?” she replies, “You know I wasn’t necessarily writing for an audience when I was writing the songs, I was really writing to save my life.” That’s a pretty big admission right there. Clearly Laura needed to express all these bottled up emotions she had, and it needed to be more than just a Rolling Stone article to do that. Now imagine what other transgender people need to express. But writing an album for yourself and not just for the fans, but still have the fans love it? That’s not a homerun, that’s grandslam!

For those who maybe struggle with their sexual, gender, or any other kind of identity for that matter this is for sure a great way to see that you are not alone. For those who just want to become more knowledgeable about the subject of gender dysphoria this is a great way to learn about it. Why not learn about it from a punk rocker instead of Wikipdedia or worse… a classroom? Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

P.S. You can see yours truly in the black Alternative Tentacles T-shirt in the audience of one of the live shows towards the end of this episode and in episode three.