05.10.2012 02:02 PM

Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Shot at a gig in Texas a few weeks ago.  Lyrics below.  And absolutely amazing.

Maybe I was wrong about AM not going on.  Maybe they will.


Her words, or what they seem to be:

Your tells (?) are so obvious.
Shoulders too broad for a girl.
Keeps you reminded,
Helps you remember where you come from.

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 hold their breath to catch the sick
Washed up on the coast, I wish we could’ve spent the whole day alone
With you

You’ve got no c**t in your strut,
You’ve got no hips to shake.
You know it’s obvious, but we can’t choose how we’re made.


  1. Mr. Murdoch esq. says:

    It seems to me, and I do not understand the Punk culture very well, that if the band stays together it is even more Punkier. In fact taking it to a new level. I kinda really like it.

  2. Chris says:

    “tells” is probably the right word as it is used to describe something that “gives you away” – the word is also used to describe poker players who reveal through their actions when they have a good hand.

  3. Why wouldn`t they go on?

  4. Michael S says:

    You’re doing a good thing with this, WK. The future Laura Jane Grace (not sure what to call her now, so I’ll think forward) is the brave one, but you’re part of the community of the good. Hopefully more music will result from this. The only problem I see is the artistic difficulties that arise from a successful transition. Nothing kills punk edge like contentment. But it’s worth it.

    • Warren says:

      The music has to change. I hope it does. They’d gotten way too mainstream for me. This likely dials things back to the beginning, when they were perfect.

  5. Dude Love says:

    Meh, sound is still rather derivative and the lyrics are nothing new or earth shattering, lyrically the same as all the other queercore from the early 1990’s.

    • Kristin says:

      I don’t think it’s meant to be groundbreaking. It just sounds to me like she just needed to write this to get some emotion out, y’know?

  6. Elena says:

    I think Laura is doing far more than “getting her emotions out” with this song, she’s highlighting how disorienting gender dysphoria is. And how especially early in transition, when we get clocked more often than not, we are attempting to ease the dysphoria, but others often only see a freak. Think about how miserable a person must be internally to willingly subject themselves to public censure, ridicule and often plain hatred. Those consequences are a thousand times easier to cope with than gender dysphoria. Now think about the fact that some of us are never lucky enough to pass as the gender we identify, but living as a freak half way between is still preferable…. I know how viscious some people can be first hand, I was beaten daily for over 8 years as an adolescent to try to make me a ‘real man’. I have been spit on and threatened, i have been harrassed by police, church groups, and even members of the gay and lesbian community. I know I won’t ever lose that edge of anger, I don’t have to live in it any more. But trigger it and I’m likely to fuckin kill you.

    I seriously doubt Laura will ever lose her edge or her angst either. She is out publicly as a trans woman, which means she will always be a target of haters. She doesn’t have the option to ‘go stealth’ once she reaches the point where she easily passes. She can’t change jobs or move to a new town, xnd have no one know her history. She is in the public eye, and there are some who will never forget or stop holding her birth against her. She at best will slip under the radar and be left alone….then again Laura isn’t exactly the type to hide behind the scenes. Lol

    Honestly, I’d wondered if she was trans for quite a while. So many of her songs too accurately describe the unique brand of turmoil we experience.

  7. Brad says:

    Thanks for posting this version. I saw Against Me! as an opening band last week. I did not know them or of them or of the current change for Laura. I just saw an enthusiastic and tight band with an androgynous singer and a good following at a show where they were not the headliner (The Cult). I was entertained and intrigued but especially by the song in your video. I thought it an odd topic to write a song about and found it to be an especially heartfelt delivery. This prompted the research, the article in Rolling Stone, me feeling old since I used to be much more aware, etc. Now I am enjoying some of the previous “hits”.

    What I saw was a band I hope will go on and continue to grow. They rocked hard and gained a new fan. The dysphoria and how to deal with it (and choosing to do so publicly after all the years of hiding) is cool. It is what I have always liked about the in-your-face side of punk. Some will not be comfortable with it or how their band is changing and that is perfect.

    I think the lyric may be “They hold their breath NOT to catch the sick”. I watched it a few times and the not seems to be there and it makes sense. Thanks again!

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