Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace on Transitioning in Florida, Smashing the Patriarchy, and Miley Cyrus | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace on Transitioning in Florida, Smashing the Patriarchy, and Miley Cyrus

Against Me! front woman Laura Jane Grace is passionate yet lighthearted, reserved in her manner but candid as she speaks about very personal topics with ease. She maintains her pleasant demeanor even when describing the uncommon aspects of transitioning from male-to-female in the spotlight.

"I went in to see a psychotherapist and was like, 'Look, I'm trans. I want to transition in a couple months. I'm coming out in Rolling Stone magazine. Can you help me?'" The attitude she received was doubtful disbelief, "'Sure you're coming out in Rolling Stone magazine...'"

When she first started the process in 2012, she was living in St. Augustine, Florida. Sadly, but not surprisingly, in the Sunshine State there are both limited resources for transgender individuals and a "system of gatekeepers" she explains.

You have to see a psychologist for a period of months. That person then presents a letter to an endocrinologist who then begins to prescribe you hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In her new home of Chicago, the process is very different. "You don't need to prove you're not crazy," she says, calling the whole process in Florida "destructive."

"Trying to prove you are who you say you are and then having to beg for permission, having to put your family through something like that and then having to build this whole weird world around it. That isn't the way transitioning really is. It's backwards and archaic thinking." Not only that, but the closest place she could begin transitioning was hours away in Gainesville.

Part of the reason she left the state involved a demeaning experience with her then endocrinologist. Grace was recording at a studio in Southern Georgia in June of 2013. She'd been having health problems not related to transitioning and a reaction to the HRT. When calling the doctor for an appointment, she was met with a receptionist that clearly hadn't received sensitivity training. "'We can get you in in August, sir,'" she recalls her saying. "I could have gotten better service at a fucking Best Buy if I was buying an iPod. Just complete disregard," Grace laments.

Something else besides a Rolling Stone article makes Grace's transitioning process different from most peoples'. She's jumped at the wonderful opportunity to help others along their journeys. There's a T.S. Eliot quote that says, "If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?" And though including quotable quotes in articles is sort of tasteless, this one speaks well to Grace's actions. She's proven she's a giant.

Grace has taken her circumstances and made it her purpose to relate to others, to heal, and to educate. With her True Trans With Laura Jane Grace web series on AOL (released at the end 2014), she spoke with trans and genderqueer folks from all over the country, including some celebrities like gay icon and porn star Buck Angel and Our Lady J, pianist and the first transgender writer for the Amazon hit web series Transparent.

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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.
Contact: Liz Tracy

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