Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace Talks Transgender Issues on ‘The Daily Show’
Laura Jane Grace (formerly Thomas James Gabel) publicly came out as transgender in May 2012, revealing she had begun hormone therapy. After nearly five years of living as a woman, Laura spoke profoundly to Daily Show host Trevor Noah about her transition and preparing herself to hear the word “tranny” for the first time.
“It is a word that I always saw as a slur, but much of my book is about self-loathing so I think it’s true as a title in that way,” Grace said. “It’s a complicated word. In the trans community, specifically, there’s an older generation of trans people who feel ownership of that word and have reclaimed it or feel like that they were the originators of it and have had no problem using it. Then there’s a younger scene of trans people who have come in and want nothing to do with that word and I’m definitely of the younger scene of trans people, but I feel like for me to come in and tell an older trans person, ‘No, you can’t use that word anymore,’ is not really my place.”
When Noah brought up a belief held by some, that feelings of being the opposite sex is a mental health issue, Grace responded, “I understand it. I probably didn’t hear the word ‘transgender’ until I was 19 or 20, so I spent a good period of time in my life wondering, ‘Okay, am I schizophrenic? Do I have twin souls living inside of me warring for control?’ The idea that you have to come fully prepared with an understanding of the word ‘transgender,’ what it means to be transgender, even when you are transgender, is not realistic.”