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Monday, January 20, 2014

The cultural significance of Against Me!'s 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not that familiar with Against Me!’s back catalog. However, I do know a thing or two about being transgender. Transgender Dysphoria Blues (stream now) is the sixth album from the Florida-based punk band Against Me!. It’s also their first LP since their lead singer, Laura Jane Grace, transitioned from male to female. The album’s tempo is more upbeat than one might expect, but the lyrics are as soul crushing as the title implies. “You want them to see you like they see every other girl; they just see a faggot. They hold their breath not to catch the sick.” At times, the album sounds like an echo chamber of our collective thoughts and anxieties, reminding transgender individuals that we’re not alone. Reminders like that are paramount, as many transgender individuals feel isolated from society. This album is particularly significant to the trans community, because this isn’t a release from the fringes of the left field. Against Me! has achieved some mainstream success in the past climbing as high as #57 on Billboard 200. The translation: This is the most accessible body of song craft dealing with transgender issues ever released. In addition to the sense of solidarity the album can provide to trans folk, it can also serve as a tool to offer insight to friends and family members struggling to grasp what it means to be transgender.

Against Me! performs with the Sidekicks and the Shondes at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Beacham, $15-$23.

Related: The four most important things I learned during my first year of transition

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