Trans Media Arts

| Apr 3, 2017

If April showers bring May flowers, what to May flowers bring? PILGRIMS! I still like that one. I think that was the first joke I learned when I was young. Ahh, Spring in California. It’s quickly becoming my favorite season here. The only problem, it is the beginning of the end for secret leg-shaving season for those who are closeted. Shorts season is coming. I remember I used to hide my legs with sweatpants and jeans all winter. By now, I would have to let it grow so it could reach the proper length in a couple of months. Our own Laura Jane Grace speaks of her own youthful trans travails in her new book. I promised a review.

 

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace’s autobiography entitled, Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, is a detailed, bold and intimate look at her life as told in chapters named by songs of hers. It follows her from childhood to present as it deals with her internalized shame about the realization that she is transgender. I was pleasantly surprised that she opened up about her childhood and her innermost thoughts. Being a fan, I never knew she struggled so much with conflict. I was again surprised that, like me, she called her dress-up sessions “episodes” as well. That is the moment I really connected with the book. It’s hard to imagine Tom Gabel, her former name, sitting around in dresses, writing songs and smoking weed. It is shocking and very sad to see how she viciously abused drugs in able to cope with being in a punk band and being secretly trans. Hard rock/punk music is very steroidal in nature and testosterone-driven debauchery is par for the course. As the pressure grew to create bigger and more mainstream “hits,” it became almost unbearable to hide her true trans self. It makes for a very compelling tale of Dresses, Drugs and Rock ‘N Roll. One doesn’t even need to know the music of Against Me! to appreciate this book. Even mild fans of punk or rock like Green Day, The Ramones or The Clash can appreciate this book. It was a page-turner for me, and I am a not a big reader. I was left wanting more.

“If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.” — The Ocean, lyrics by Laura Jane Grace.

Listen to Laura Jane Grace narrate some of her book on SoundCloud.

Lady Gaga on Drag Race.

People are going gaga over Gaga. After having her songs performed for years on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lady Gaga finally makes her debut on the show’s season 9 premiere. But instead of being introduced, Gaga pretends to be one of the queens competing in the drag competition. She glides into the workroom with her face partially obscured by a headpiece. Jaws drop and an air of jealously hangs in the air. “That a damn good Lady Gaga impersonator,” declares contestant Charlie Hides. Gaga even recorded a segment as her male alter-ego “Ronnie,” before revealing her “true” self. “Ronnie” happens to be the name of one of her guard dogs.

A show in its fourth season on the Freeform Network called The Fosters! is making some transgender news. After beating around the bush, characters Callie and Aaron are becoming an item. Despite the trials and tribulations it took for Callie and Aaron to get to this point, the new storyline is another groundbreaking move for the Freeform show that has consistently pushed boundaries for better inclusion and representation of the LGBTQ community. It’s the first time a lead heroine of a teen drama has entered into a romantic relationship with a transgender character. Check it out on the Freeform website.

Oh, those crazy Frenchies, they have done it again! The transgender community, which has long been overlooked, is set to enormously transform the fashion world. French Vogue’s March cover features a transgender model for the first time in the magazine’s 97-year history, Valentina Sampaio. Vogue has featured personalities like Andreja Pejic and Hari Nef, but this is the first time they launched a version of Vogue with a transgender woman’s photo on the entire cover. First France, then the world! I hope that we see Valentina on the main cover of Vogue soon. Read a great piece on Valentina in The Sun.

Dave Chapelle is getting heat for his new comedy specials on Netflix. The elusive Chapelle, who has disappeared for long periods, perhaps has been out of touch for too long. There was a backlash by viewers toward his jokes about the LGBTQ community and his comments on transgender issues. The specials – The Age of Spin: Live at the Hollywood Palladium and Deep in the Heart of Texas: Live at Austin City Limits — have raised the question about what is and isn’t off limits in standup comedy, and if it’s acceptable for comedians to cross certain boundaries. You can see a trailer for the mayhem right here.

Bye for now cats & kittens! Enjoy the springtime flowers and Spring dresses!

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Category: Fun & Entertainment

Amanda F. Steele

About Amanda F. Steele: I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 4 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved here to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. The adventure continues...

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