THE TRANS-SEXUAL ROCK STAR-LAURA JANE GRACE
Laura Jane Grace is one of the first transsexual rock stars and a groundbreaking figure in the history of rock & roll. Grace came out as transgender while fronting Against Me!, a politically charged Florida-based neo-punk band. Her memoir Transgender Dysphoria Blues, released by Against Me! in 2014, expanded the scope of her cultural influence beyond the punk scene she had previously dominated. Grace took advantage of the newfound chances presented by her increased notoriety by penning the memoir Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout in 2016 and forming the Devouring Mothers in 2018. Stay Alive, her debut solo album, was released in 2020. She continued to work alone for the At War with the Silverfish EP in 2021.
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Laura Jane Grace was an army brat who moved around a lot as a young child. She was born in Fort Benning, Georgia. When Grace was eight years old, she bought her first guitar and started teaching herself to play. Her parents separated when she was 12 years old. Her mother relocated Laura Jane and her younger brother Mark to Naples, Florida, while her father stayed stationed in Naples, Italy. She developed a liking for punk during her teens and joined her first band at the age of 13. A run-in with the police a year later radicalized her ideas, and she later embraced the anarchist punk band Crass in response. She was a bassist in the Adversaries at this time, a two-year-long band. After a brief stint in Common Affliction, Laura Jane Grace created Against Me! demo cassette in 1996.
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Grace left high school early and relocated to Gainesville, Florida, where she focused on Against Me! She began by playing acoustic guitar while panhandling, but soon Against Me! grew into a full band and in 2002, the independent No Idea label released their debut album, Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose. In 2005, Searching for a Former Clarity made it into the Billboard Top 200, which led to the band's later-year contract with Sire. Their major-label debut, New Wave, was released in 2007. A year later, Grace released Heart Burns, a politically motivated solo EP.
Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender in 2012, following the publication of White Crosses in 2010. On the Against Me! album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which was released in 2014 on Xtra Mile Recordings, she discussed her gender dysphoria. Grace published a memoir, Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, following the release of Shape Shift with Me in 2016.
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She next formed a side band called the Devouring Mothers. Bought to Rot, their first album, appeared in November 2018. Grace stepped out as a solo act with Stay Alive, an album recorded with Steve Albini during the COVID-19 quarantine of 2020. It was released in October 2020. Almost a year later, Grace released the solo EP At War with the Silverfish.