Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace made headlines in 2012 upon announcing she was transitioning from Tom Gabel to a woman. Now she is ready to share her story and the stories of fellow transgender men and women in her new AOL Originals series True Trans. Grace called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) from the road during her current Against Me! tour to discuss her own experience of coming out to friends, family, and bandmates, as well as to explain her new show. And you can hear the entire thing right here on the InsideTV Podcast.
“Basically, it’s a 12 part docuseries,” said Grace. “And each episode revolves around a different topic, and topics range from family, to coming out, to transition, to etcetera. And the show was shot in a period of three and a half weeks — I had a camera crew out on tour with me, and basically every day I would try to meet up with three or four people and do an interview with them. So each episode has all of those people participating — giving commentary on the topic that the episode is focused on and how it affected them. Part of what was appealing about this to me was that it took the focus off of me and gave me a chance to ask other people questions. I’m definitely part of the conversation and the band being on tour is definitely the backdrop for that. So it’s kind of a mix of that. There is a little of my story in there too. But it hopefully will give the spotlight to other people as well.”
While each episode of True Trans will focus on different people, there are some common themes that pop up in all the stories Grace heard. “The common thread that unfortunately was most notable is that for the most part people’s parents weren’t very supportive of them, or family wasn’t very supportive of them when they came out. And that often had a negative effect on their life, often meaning turning to drugs or alcohol and stuff, which was very much true in my case growing up. That’s an unfortunate commonality that I think is shared between a lot of trans people.”
Grace also shared what it was like telling her band — an event that was not planned. “One of the things I try to tell people all the time is that it’s okay to stumble into coming out to people – to not do it that gracefully. With my band, I didn’t necessarily intend to come out to them at the point that I did. We were sitting in the studio talking about the record we were making and I got frustrated because I couldn’t explain myself fully with what I meant, so it was just like, ‘Okay, well, f— it, here it goes.’ I definitely felt like at the time that I had dropped kicked everyone in the room. That wasn’t what they were expecting me to say and there was definitely a moment of shock that took everyone a second to kind of process.”
But the attention soon turned back to the music, and Grace says she has also been overwhelmed by the support from her fans and other musicians. “I was really, really humbled and surprised by just how supportive people were. And that goes both for our fan base and for other musicians and other people in the music industry — Joan Jett being a great example of that.”
Listen in to the entire conversation — including Grace’s thoughts on other transgender roles in entertainment such as Laverne Cox on Orange Is the New Black — by clicking on the audio player icon below. You can also download the entire podcast right here. Or, since we’re on iTunes, you can subscribe for free and take the podcast with you. No iTunes? No problem. To send a question to the InsideTV Podcast team, follow us on Twitter @InsideTVPodcast. And to hear more interviews and television discussion and debate, check out Entertainment Weekly Radio on SiriusXM, channel 105.