“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” Is Proof That Rock Still Matters

I admit that if I ever encountered a trans man or woman, I would probably be awkward, even with the best of intentions. Transgender is something beyond my understanding and I know I have a negative view due to past experiences online with individuals who claim to be m2f.

Laura Jane Grace sings every lyric on Against Me!’s new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues as though it would have been physically painful if she couldn’t get the thought out of her head. And maybe that’s true: Against Me! has been around for over a decade, but this is the first record she’s ever made as an out trans woman. Grace has always specialized in writing cathartic music, but her new songs go much further. They are brutally frank about living with the agony of dysphoria, and of coming out to a world that is largely transphobic, where even well-meaning people can be deeply clueless about how to deal with your very existence. It’s an unrelentingly intense set of songs, and some of the most vital and relevant rock music to come out in years.

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