The Florida-based punk rock band Against Me! formed in 1997 and firmly established itself in the punk world with the release of five albums between 2002 and 2012. In 2012, lead singer of the band, Laura Jane Grace—formerly Tom Gabel—announced that she was a transgender woman. Following this admission, the band began work on their sixth album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a concept album following the life of a transgender prostitute.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues has already set itself up to be one of this year’s most iconic albums in the punk rock scene. Intensely personal, heartfelt, and relentlessly unapologetic, this album incorporates classic punk concepts with a new type of awareness not typically associated with a genre that has been largely limited to white, heterosexual males.
The album is musically and lyrically well rounded; from the anti-authoritarian “Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ,” to the longing lone-song “Two Coffins,” to the metaphor-filled upbeat anthem “Paralytic States.”
While Grace’s personal anguish fuels the lyrical fire of this album, the compilaion is made even more stirring by the fact that—having just begun her transition—Grace still has a very deep voice, the same one that’s defined her career from the beginning. The impact is particularly felt in the title track when Grace belts out “You want them to see you/ like they see any other girl/ they just see a faggot.”
Laden in punk beats, lyrically heavy, and overwhelmingly inspiring, Transgender Dysphoria Blues is an incredible album with an even more incredible message.