Last night on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace gave Noah one of his best interviews yet. Grace discussed going to a major label, discovering her gender identity and her book Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout.
After a brief discussion of the wrath of fans who believed signing to a big label meant selling out, Grace and Noah turned to more personal topics of gender and the use of language in discussing gender. When Noah asked about the use of the word “Tranny” in her book title, Grace gave a thoughtful discussion of the complicated history of the word within the transgender community:
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. 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.
Grace and Noah also discussed how the lack of education on sex and gender in the American school system can give trans teenagers a particularly hard time growing up. “If you think back to school, and what a joke sex education was,” Grace said, “It’s never explained. There is no gender identity class.” When the topic of correct pronouns came up, Grace advised just asking a person what their pronouns are if you’re ever unsure. Since transitioning, Grace said pronouns haven’t been an issue for the members of her family, who have been largely supportive. When asked about her daughter, Grace said, “When it comes down to my daughter and I, it’s not that big of a deal. For her, there is no conflict of saying ‘dad’ but also saying ‘she’ and ‘her.’”
The whole interview is intimate and informative, and overall, one of Noah’s best. That said, the quality of the interview shouldn’t be credited to Noah, but to Grace, who calmly and thoughtfully carried the conversation.
Watch the entire clip here, and read Paste’s review of Tranny here. Also, check out Paste Cloud audio of Against Me!’s 2014 Daytrotter session below.