Laura Jane Grace never wavered in wanting to play Against Me!’s show in North Carolina on May 15 after an anti-LGBT law passed. But it wasn’t easy for her.
“If you’re a trans person living in North Carolina, it’s not like you have the option to be like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna boycott my state — I’m not going to work today. I’m not gonna shop at the store,'” the transgender frontwoman explains in an essay for Vulture. “So my solution was never gonna be, ‘I’m just not gonna play in North Carolina.’ That’s ridiculous.”
The trip was different for Grace, who described feeling more nervous on her way to Durham and held out to use a restroom in an establishment that had a unisex option.
During the show, Grace burned her birth certificate, and now writes that songs “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and “True Trans Soul Rebel” garnered the strongest reactions. She also made herself available after the show to support fans — including young kids trying to figure out their own gender identity.
“When I came out, I had no community. I didn’t know any trans people,” Grace says. “So back then, to go on tour and immediately have people who would wait around after shows to say hey, to say they were there if I needed a friend — that meant the world to me.”
Grace adds the reason why she’s ardently public about transgender rights is to combat ignorance about the topic, which she believes led to HB2’s passing. She strongly disagreed with the rationale of the law which “oddly focused on trans women specifically.
“The argument is predicated on the idea of transgender people being mentally ill, or pedophiles, or sexual predators, which is just absurd,” she continues. “If the fear is of sexual assault or rape, well, there are already laws against things like that. People have been using the restroom with transgender people all their life — they generally just don’t realize it.”
Read her full op-ed at Vulture.