Tranny, by Laura Jane Grace

Title: nny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout

Author: Laura Jane Grace

Publisher: Hachette Books

Publication Date: November 15, 2016

www.hachettebookgroup.com

 tranny

The Upshot: Against Me! founder details the life, the lifestyle, the music, and the transition in a remarkably candid memoir.

 BY JOHN B. MOORE

 Against Me! were being called sell outs years before they ever signed a major label record deal.

The Gainesville, FL-based band that played a brand of fiery acoustic DIY protest anthems were first slapped with the label when they tightened up their once sloppy sound, opting simply for better production and electric guitars in the studio. The second wave of slurs came when they left the tiny independent punk rock labels and opted to put out a couple of albums on Fat Wreck Chords, a slightly bigger independent record label. But, the suburban anarchists that keep score really lost their shit when Against Me! signed a deal with Sire Records (once home to everyone from The Ramones and The Replacements to The Dead Boys, all oddly considered beyond rebuke based on punk rock rules).

So, by the time Tom Gabel, founder and singer/guitarist for Against Me! decided to go public in 2012 and tell everyone about his struggles with gender dysphoria and that he would now be going by a different pronoun and changing his name to Laura Jane Grace, she was all out of fucks to give about what people would say. Her memoir, Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, is just as defiant and compelling and she is. Written with the help of music journalist Dan Ozzy, the book includes plenty of Grace’s writings from personal journals giving the memoir an of-the-moment accuracy that is often missing from rock bios that rely mainly on decades-old recollections to fill in the details.

Deeply personal, the book dives into her childhood, being raised mainly by a single mother with a weedy relationship with her ex-military, conservative father. Plenty of space is devoted to the band’s founding, line-up changes and a sometimes rocky relationship with the punk community gatekeepers quick to judge every decision a band makes. It’s Grace’s journal entries about her at-the-time secret realization that she was born the wrong gender that is the heart of this memoir. It’s shattering to read the writings of a teen and eventually young adult struggling to keep this life a secret from every person in her world.

Defiant, at times heartbreaking, but ultimately empowering, with Tranny Laura Jane Grace turns in one of the most important rock memoirs in years.

 

 

Leave a Reply