Laura Jane Grace

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her. Since most of my crowd is more mature, I assume many of you have not. But, in my opinion, she’s the face of transgenderism for the next generation. And she’s a fabulous spokesperson.  Intelligent, sincere and very pretty although not as “girly” in appearance as some of us strive for, Laura Jane Grace is a songwriter and the lead singer/front person for a band called Against Me!  Transgenderisn appears often in her songs, which I would call dark folk with a grunge influence.  Not my cup of tea but I do respect her work.

Below is the link to her interview done by George Stroumboulopoulos for the CBC up here in Canada. It’s 22+ minutes in length but well worth a peek.

Strangely, most of the transgender community seems united with their positive feelings about the interview, although many have expressed displeasure because she failed to correct George when he said something about her “choice to transition”.  Personally, I had no issue with that and even if Laura Jane did, rather than get into a discussion which likely would have caused Strombo to correct himself for his choice of terms, she had the class to move forward.

“You want them to notice, the ragged ends of your summer dress. You want them to see you like they see every other girl. They just see a faggot. They’ll hold their breath not to catch the sick.“~ from Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me!

Aside from being a good interviewer – he does his research – George is really a non-judgmental guy who truly does understand.

Laura Jane mentions she suggested the book Whipping Girl by Julia Serano as recommended reading for those wanting more information on gender dysphoria.  Although I’ve heard of the book, I haven’t read it but likely should.  If you’re interested, it’s available here.

Yes, Laura Jane has it easier than many of us.  Her generation isn’t a locked in to the rigid gender “rules” quite as tightly as my generation is, she lives in the music crowd  – a stereotypically non-judgmental grup – and is married to an artist, but the internal challengers and conflicts she once experienced were the same.

Although she’s doing a wonderful job bringing transgenderism to the young masses, there’s something going on behind her eyes that I find somewhat worrisome.  I wish her well.

And to George Stroumboulopoulos, well done!

6 thoughts on “Laura Jane Grace”

  1. Hi Seleena,
    There is room for lots of comments here.
    The reason,I think anyway, that transitioned girls ‘dress down’ is because they consider themselves female and therfor do not want to be associated with guys wearing dresses.This is perfectly understandable as they wish to blend in completedely and to be considered a female without question.
    We have had this discussion at Xpressionss often.Since I have been a member and a number of girls who have taken the journey (re-assignment surgery or not) have drifted away. They will strongly disagree with the thought that they are no longer interested in us but it is not an unusual phenonima and apparently it has happend a lot over the years. It would appear that when one starts the journey one goes some where else in the mind , particularly if hormones are introduced one becomes slightly different.
    You are absulutely correct with respect to younger generations have an easier time. For Xpressions this brings other problems. eg. We have had a number od younger girls join un recently and the problem is how do we accomodate them as their needs are different from us (sorry) older girls.There are lots of ideas but implemaentaion is hard.
    Pauline

  2. Hi Pauline, I totally understand your point about transitioned girls dressing down. But although I do know know many genetic women who dress “up” all the time, I rarely meet a transitioned girl who does. So yes, maybe it’s so as not to be seen as a guy in a dress. But unless a girl begins transition at a very young age, her bone
    structure will always appear quite masculine. A feminine look goes a long way towards hiding that.

    Confidence is a state of mind and whether it projects outwardly or not, feeling female and appearing female can be two very different things. And I believe this is why
    many post-transition girls are hurt and offended when people see them differently than they see themselves.

    Over the years, I’ve seen more than one girl change her appearance drastically post-transition. Let me give an example.

    I met a girl at an event a three years ago. She was gorgeous! Reasonable makeup, a very nice wig in a style that suited her face perfectly, fabulous nails, beautiful yet understated wardrobe including footwear .. definitely not a guy-in-a-dress, But she had that doe-in-he-headlights look in her eyes. She was i the midst of an awakening.

    By the end of the conference she had decided she was going to leave her wife (two small children), give up her six-figure professional career (she believed it would not be possible to continue) and go full time. And shortly after the conference she did just that.

    The next time I saw her was at the same conference the following year. The doe-in-the-headlights look was gone and she was smiling a little more but she looked like shit
    (excuse my language). Had she not approached me, I would never have recognized her. The gorgeous wig that suited her face so beautifully was replaced by her own ratty-
    looking hair complete with receding hairline, no sign of makeup other than maybe a little lip gloss and her clothes were quite boyish. She didn’t look like a guy-in-a-dress but only because she wasn’t wearing a dress.

    Yes, the smile was there so I do understand that she did what she really needed and wanted to do and I applaud her for that. I hugged her tightly! But she no longer had a look that would have permitted her breeze through any situation at all without scrutiny as she had done so often in the past. Her look had changed from womanly, pleasant and soft to masculine, harsh and “I don’t really care”.

    When she left, I looked at my spouse. Kim, as you know, is a genetic female. And she had makeup on, feminine clothing, nails done. But she didn’t look much different than she looks every other day of the year.

    So my question is, why don’t trans girls emulate women like my genetic female partner or yours, Pauline? Is it too much work? Too much effort? The concern you mentioned about looking like a guy in a dress? It wasn’t too much effort for my spouse who looked after a household and raised a child while working full time for many many years.

    But about Laura Jane .. I realize she may have been dressed in musician-wear for the interview but honestly, didn’t you think she appeared as a gorgeous girly face on a rather masculine body? A reasonable person might be subconsciously inclined to question her gender in a public setting.

    But maybe it’s just the semi-grunge look and being stylish ismore important than a flattering look. haha!

    If I can summarize my opinion in my usual controversial way, to your last point, I believe the girls who continue to associate with our groups post-transition are the ones
    who are still trying to find their place in the world. Maybe a few stick around to “give something back” or to help those following in their footsteps but most have
    simply still not found the last piece of their puzzle … and I think, in many cases, it has to do with how they’re treated by others because of their presentation and the related perceptions of society.

    And that girl I mentioned above? This year she didn’t attend the conference at all.

  3. Hi Seleena,
    What a great comment. It would be very diffiult to argue with any of your remarks. The other thing that seems to come as a result of transitoning is the personal problems that arise. Firstly the hormones tend to change their thinking patterns. ,some quite illogical (is that a female thing?–maybe I should duck at this point). the other areas affected are family,friends and work. Its is a rare company that accepts TSs as employees. Thus we get a lack of self confidence and depression occurring. The family break up is the toughest one of all as usually childenn are affected and that could have life long implications. One must think this through veery carefully as the results are devastating if one doesn’t, The compulsion to transitin, come what may, must be very powerful and difficult to understand.

    PS running out of time. I would like to continue this discussion later if I may.
    Hugs,
    Pauline

    1. Hi Pauline,

      You’ve made some excellent points and I look forward to you continuing as time permits.

      I’d like to comment on your point about companies that rarely accept TS’s. I have a friend who is the Director of HR for a national company. She explains that her company is completely accepting of transgender employees; before, during and after transition. But the situation that she says almost always ends in termination is simply that the employee is rarely able to keep up their part of the deal.

      The company provides sensitivity training to everyone about trangenderism, among other things. They have no tolerance for emotional abuse and do everything possible to ensure the TG employee is treated with respect and dignity. But she finds the employee is very rarely able to focus and perform at the level they’re being paid to perform at. Offering a lower profile position with less stress at the same salary level is not possible since it would be unfair to other staff . And offering a job more suited to the transitioning employee’s new output and emotional tolerance level might seem like the company is being discriminatory.

      So the TG employee’s performance suffers; emotional outbursts are common and disruptive, absenteeism rises and, sadly, resignation or termination invariably follow.

      I’m my heart, I truly believe her company is trying to be supportive but high hormone levels combined with the employee’s social and emotional change experience makes for a difficult situation.

      *hugs*

  4. Hi Seleena,
    Let me first apologise for the awful errors in my last note. I should be more careful.
    With respect to large corporations having a TG acceptatance policy I know for a fact that Bell does so does United Tecnologies. The trouble is, the TG has to face her fellow employees every day. For example I know a pre-op TS who holds a marine Masters Cerificate and works for the Coast Guard. It can’t be proven but it would appear that she has missed a number of promotions because of it.
    I would like to mention another subject which is dear to my heart and I think applicable to this and another of you blogs. It is the difference between passing and blending.To me it affects the way people perceive us when we are out.If one goes out dressed as if one is going to the Queen’s Plate but is going to a pic-nic by the lake one is going to get made unless one is fortunate enough to have an extremely feminine appearance. On the other hand if one is dressed accordingly it is less likely that one will get made.
    An example of this was when Gail and I were in Florida recently, we traveled by car from Sarasota to Key West which included driving along the northern extremity of the Everglades. We stopped a couple of times at designated viewing areas and Gail thought I was decidely over dressed for the occasion. She was probably right as I had garnered a few stares. When we stopped over night we visited a Walmart and bought some feminine but less obvious clothing and removed my excess jewellery. No more stares for the rest of the week.
    Hugs Pauline

    1. Hi Pauline,

      You make a good point about passing vs blending. Thanks for sharing your experience while traveling. I can relate.

      I’ve had similar experiences while driving in the US. I do tone things down lots but for me, the heels are the “problem”. I think I could slip in and out of the ladies room along the interstate without drawing any attention at all but for the click-click-click of the heels. Even my quietest heels are noisy on hard floors.

      But genetic women who wear heels often get noticed too!

      Gone are the days when everyone “clicked” 🙂

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