Laura Jane Grace has been on my mind a lot this week, and after a couple of glasses of wine I'm finally calm enough to feel like I can truly explain why I am so proud and grateful for her, and the punk rock community this week.
I'm not a particular fan of Against Me! In fact, I'm more a fan of Laura's wife Heather, whose artwork I have tattooed on my wrist thanks to her brilliance in designing the Alkaline Trio logo. But regardless of that Laura coming out as transgender has had a profound effect on me.
As someone who spent many years struggling with my gender, sexuality and identity I can explain to you the importance and desperate search you go through to find someone you can identify with, someone you feel you can understand. I don't want to go into my struggle with my gender here, it's too complex and confusing, but with regard to my sexuality all I wanted was someone who was real (not a character on Hollyoaks, although that did help, Kris <3) who I could look up to and cling onto and so when Dom from The Others was "yeah you know I'm bi. I like boys and I like girls" it was the first time someone I could even remotely relate to was open about the fact he liked both
. It was huge for me.
And so I cannot imagine the impact Laura coming out is going to have on any punk rock kids who have
struggled with their gender and identity.
And so that is why I'm grateful, because she did not have to do this publicly. She could have left her band and gone through this on her own with her family and friends, but she has chosen to be so brave and courageous and in the process of doing that will face a lot of shit from ignorant and scared people, but somewhere in between that she may help someone understand or come to terms with their own confusion and stop them feeling shame but rather give them a lifeline.
And so I wish Laura Jane Grace the best of luck and support in her future with her band and her family and her love and her life.
I would also like to add that the reaction and support Laura's received from the punk rock community has made me so proud and has been so gratifying. To see The Gaslight Anthem, Sharks and Itch step up straight away to commend and support her and call up people on their ignorance and bullshit has just overwhelmed me. To know that these bands, these ideals, this community into which I have poured my heart and soul over the years have stood up and shouted when it's counted has meant so much. It's meant it's real. It's all worth something.