Growing Up | Ep. 1 | True Trans

– My earliest memories
are of gender dysphoria. I felt lost and at times
like I couldn’t survive. It took until I was 31 to publicly come out as a transgender woman. (guitar playing) Nothing has been the same since. While on the road I have met gender-variant people
from all walks of life, all at various points in their dreams. Hearing their stories and then
being to relate myself to it, is what I need right now. By the time I was 30 years old, I had done everything I had set out to do. I had taken my band from
playing in basements to playing stadiums and arenas. Married, had a kid, had a house. Everything you really could ever want. But when it came down to it that didn’t make the dysphoria go away. And if I didn’t address what was going on then I was going to end up killing myself. (soft guitar music) – Laura, from the time
she was really little, people would always say
“that is a beautiful child.” She was very gentle. She wouldn’t fight back as a kid and I was always worried about it. That she would be picked on because she was just
very non-confrontational. With having a father in the military and being a military
brat and moving around, that’s a hard life! You know, it’s all about conforming and that’s not just for the soldier, that’s for the wife and the children. You are definitely expected to fit in. I think Laura had a hard time adjusting when we moved to Naples. For one thing, it was a bad divorce and she came in the
middle of a school year, it was fifth grade. We had nowhere to live
and I had 500 dollars. She didn’t fit the norm of Naples. She dressed really differently. She was constantly
changing the hairstyles, everything from mohawk to the I think they are called
the liberty spikes, where she would do super
glue to keep them up. And she looked different so to speak. – [Laura] My mom has seen my
band play countless times. And not even just this band but the bands I was in previous to it. Down to the very first time I ever played live with any kind of band. She’s always been there,
and anytime we play close to where she lives she
always comes out to the show. (punk music) (loud applause) The first show I ever did we
all sat on chairs backwards. We were so dorky.
– [Bonnie] Oh my God, I forgot about that! We did an a cappella version
of Bohemian Rhapsody. – Grandma was there. – Yeah, OK, everyone’s grandma was there! (Laura and Bonnie laugh) I got into punk rock when
I was like, 13 years old and I started getting beat up a lot. And what attracted me to
punk initially was that it seemed like the attitude
was more about fighting back. – [Bonnie] I recall when Laura
was first attracted to punk. Pretty much by the time
we moved back to Florida and then she started into the
more louder stuff so to speak. – We met on the first day of high school. I remember there were two glass doors when you walked out of a hallway where I came from my class to get there. – And I just saw a green mohawk run past. And I was like “another punk,
I’m not alone in high school, “there is another punk!” – [James] We just all became
friends pretty quickly because there weren’t a lot of
punks in Naples, FLorida. – I think by lunch hour
we had found each other and we were friends. – I think that Laura was able to build a relationship with James because they felt like outsiders. – [Laura] We’ve been homeless together, we’ve gotten arrested together, we’ve been in fights together. Especially starting out, you
know, young, poor punk kids. I guess I named it when I was 16 or 17. I don’t remember the moment, I
don’t remember why I chose it but looking back it’s kind
of obvious that I felt the whole world is against me, so. – She was frequently thrown out of school and then she was frequently arrested. She was arrested at the beach. They hogtied her and took her to jail. She wasn’t allowed to call me. I didn’t know where she was
and they had really abused her. I took it to court and
the attorney had said “you’ll win, it was way
roughed up by the police “and you have such a case” and I lost. I think a lot of Laura’s
lyrics were as a result of the situations that she encountered, specifically in Naples. – I definitely was a troubled teen. And I gave my mom a lot of grief. – [Bonnie] I knew that
this was a great kid. That this was something who had
a fantastic heart and spirit that there was not anything bad about her. But I knew that if she got
sucked into that system, I would never be able to get her out. – [Laura] So I left Naples, I
got out, I toured the world. I was lucky enough to work with
record labels of all sizes. Had the chance to tour with bands that I’d grown up listening to and
thrown into surreal situations I never could have
imagined myself being in. When I got there it wasn’t enough. (mellow guitar music) I got really, really f***** up on drugs and struggled really hard with that. At the same time, I was really, really struggling with dysphoria. And it was always that cycle. It was that cycle of intense
feelings of dysphoria coupled with intense
feeling of guilt and shame. And then suppressing it and
trying to focus on something else but it always coming back. I cleaned up and I got healthy. I went through a total purge of “I am a male, this is who I am “and I’m going to commit
to being this person “who I’m perceived to be in this band. “This front singer or whatever.” I completely just focused everything mentally on being in a band. We were going to go on tour, we were going to sign to a
major label and that was it. That would be enough. And for a while it was, it
was totally distracting. I didn’t have a second to
think about anything else. I didn’t consciously feel like
I was living a lie because I swore it off. As my personal life
then started to develop, all those feelings came back. I was able suppress them for three years but they all came back. They always came back. It took me until I was
probably like 30 to realize this will never change, this
will always be like this. This is who I am and I
need to deal with that.

About the author


  1. People have to realize that it's not a medical or psychological condition.  It's how the brain is set up in the womb or in the DNA (we don't really know which yet for sure).  

    It's just a fact that you're born with, and people deal with it in all kinds of different ways.  But you can't blame someone for being the way God made them.  You're transgender at birth.  

  2. Fuck trans! Fuck cis! Fuck inter!

    We need less categories – not more.
    If you are a woman, why don´t you just fight for beeing accepted as a woman?
    If you are against (binary) genders why don´t you just fight em instead of saying you´d be "trans"?

    Trans is a stupid bodyfashistic category invented by genitalistic conservative "scientists" for justifying hierarchy, murder and
    foreign determination driven by cruel homophobic laws. So why do you support these bodyfashistic values and perception-builders?
    If you are a woman with a penis and red hair, why don´t you say you´re a woman with a penis and red hair, why do you say you´re a redhaired trans-woman? Thats bullshit and feeding your haters.

    You should say, you experienced beeing assigned to the WRONG gender, not that you would have been in the wrong body or shit like that cuz its (sometimes primarily) not the body that is wrong/trans it is the (first way the non concerned) people´s perception!

  3. Webby Awards Founder Tiffany is joined by her producer Sawyer Steele to share his transition story in #TheFutureStartsHere: 

  4. Love Laura. Growing up with Against Me and seeing her transformation over the past two years has been incredible.

  5. Wow it's quite sick how the mother speaks about her son as 'she'.
    Besides, there is nothing uncommon about Tom's childhood as the mother tells it. I grew up in a similar one-parent family, we have had problems with my brother too that were never talked about. But none of us dressed as the other gender … yet. We could overcome it by ourselves more or less in a normal way. Tom couldn't. He was a person who should have received some help.

  6. I didn't follow up too much after the transition, but did her band members stay or did they all leave or been replaced?

  7. Ugh she's so absolutely beautiful. I love that her mother is so supportive also! Sadly that doesn't end up happening sometimes.

  8. This is a master peace that can't be denied anyone that see it. She is amazing all trans-men and women have been empowered buy her strength.

  9. LOVE!!  I did not know what my dysphoria was, or that my dysphoria was due to my having always felt like a female… I can completely relate to this. I did not care about my life, was filled with guilt and shame, and hid from the world. I had no friends. I have a 155 IQ but nearly flunked out of high school. I often refused to go to school throughout my childhood. I hated school so bad, I could hardly stand to be there. I did not fit in. As soon as I began accepting this part of myself it all changed. It took me a long time to realize what my problem was. I hated myself, refused to believe… Nothing made sense — until I began reading about transgender issues. It's like a miracle. Their stories are MY story! I thought I was an alien – totally alone. Not anymore. A few of my friends at my transgender support group went to your book signing in Chicago, and I just ordered your book. I wish I had known more and had gone to meet you. I hope you are in Chicago again soon!!!

  10. It feels so good to be represented like that, thank you Laura Jane! And tons of love to everyone in the trans community out there <3 Em

  11. Tom didn''t grow up 'poor' like he claims here. His Dad was a military man.
    It seems like he was repressing narcissism and has histrionic personality disorder which he channeled into his crossdressing kink and claimed it's 'dysphoria'

  12. Finding this band, finding Laura, as a trans girl in 2019, its, amazing. She inspires me to keep pushing on with music. Even if the career doesnt work out and i fall back on game design or physics, or some other interest of mine, at least i can say tried. Her music keeps me afloat during the lowest of lows, singing along to songs like Transgender Dysphoria Blues, wishing i even had a summer dress. Not for people to notice, but more just, for my own comfort

  13. I live a city away from Naples, and I've been there millions of times. Naples is a very poor place to be if you're part of the LGBT community. I have dysphoria, and I feel pretty isolated because SW Florida is full of traditional, dirty old men. I've been writing music for several years now, and I borrow influence from Laura..It hurts being here, and it hurts less knowing Laura originated from mere miles from me <3

  14. Tom was a male.. When talking about things he did befor becoming a woman.. We should refer to him as him until we are referring to a time when she was she.. I am not trying to be disrespectul i am a big fan.

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