Laura Jane Grace

Celebrating Transgender Americana and Folk Musicians

Earlier today, Donald Trump announced that he will be banning all transgender men and women from serving in the U.S. military, including the 15,000 currently in the military. This cruel bigotry strips these troops of their livelihoods simply because one man doesn’t like the way they were born, sending a signal to such patriots that they are not welcome here and that we do not thank them for their heroic service. An administration official admitted that this was not because of the negligible medical costs that the president cited in his Tweets, but because of crass political cynicism.

Hard Times No More stands with every patriot who serves and wants to serve in the military, their gender identity or sexual orientation bedamned. We also support transgender rights and persons in general. Every human being on earth is one of God’s children. People are people, and the best way a music blog can help show that is by sharing great music made by artists who happen to be transgender.

Let’s start with Joe Stevens performing “Beyond Me”. Anything that includes a steel guitar is fine by me. This is an artist I’ll be looking into more!

Second, here’s Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “Blue Ridge Mountain,” featuring Yosi Perlstein on fiddle. I love Hurray for the Riff Raff, and there’s nothing in this world like a good fiddle!

Next, Lucas Silveira covers Leonard Cohen.

Here’s Rae Spoon’s “I Will Be A Wall”:

Finally, Laura Jane Grace and Against Me with “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.”

If you’re a cisgender reader who opposes transgender rights, it’s easy to look at a post like this and say “Keep politics and music separate!” Yet if I tried to take away YOUR job, YOUR health care, or YOUR identity, suddenly you would say the conversation is not one about politics, but about life and basic fairness. And you’d be absolutely right – but we’re having that same conversation now, too, just about someone else’s job, health care, and identity.

This post isn’t about electoral politics. Only those who already have power and are already included see questions about basic, fundamental rights as electoral, partisan, or controversial. No, posts about transgender rights and talents like this one are simply posts about life. And when it comes to encouraging society to love EVERYONE and to treat everyone equally, art and art critics have always had a huge role to play.

(This post was largely inspired by Angela Dumlao’s article, “To the cis person angrily sharing news of the Trump transgender military ban.” In it, Angela points out that simply sharing news articles is not enough. They list a number of questions we need to ask ourselves to find out if we’re truly supporting those whose rights are under attack, including, “Do you intake media by trans people? TV? Books? Articles? Art? Music?” I knew Perlsetein was transgender, but realized Angela was right and that I had to go deeper than just one man.)