Laura Jane Grace

American musician

Laura Jane Grace (born November 8, 1980) is an American musician best known as the founder, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Against Me!.

Laura Jane Grace in 2014


  • After church on Sundays, I would build forts with blankets and sheets, covering my bedroom from corner to corner. Underneath those bedding canopies I created a world of my own, my first experiences with privacy from my parents. To save space on storage, my mother kept her nylons in my bottom dresser drawer. I found them, and natural curiosity led me to try them on. I wondered what was so special about these shriveled brown socks that only my mom got to wear.
    In the dark secrecy of my forts, I lay on my back, stretched my legs up toward the sky, and slowly rolled the nylons down over my legs. I was almost hypnotized by the sensation of nylon on skin.
    This must be what it feels like to be a woman, I thought to myself.
    My father would walk by and see the sheets and blanket tent tops I had constructed over the furniture.
    "Tommy, what the hell are you doing in there?" he'd bark. "Nothing!" I'd call back, and I would roll the nylons off my legs and hide them as quick as I could. No one ever had to tell me that what I was doing in my fort was indecent behavior. I could just feel that it was wrong, as if I was born with the shame. I had already been caught playing Barbies with a neighbor girl. My father's reaction was a cold stare of disapproval and a new G.I. Joe. It was put to me bluntly that "little boys don't play with Barbie dolls like little girls do," and that was that.
    • Chapter 1
  • My confusion over my interest in women's bodies and clothing followed me throughout elementary school. I'd see older women on the street and want to be as pretty as they were. At 8 years old, I caught an edited version of Rosemary's Baby playing on late night network TV. While most kids would shy away from the terror of the Roman Polanski film, I was drawn in by the beauty of Mia Farrow. Her hair was short and blond, chopped into a pixie cut, not dissimilar to my own. I knew what it felt like to have hair so short, so she made femininity real and attainable to me. I had no idea what kind of adult I'd grow up to be, but she gave me something to aspire to. Maybe, just maybe, I would look like her one day.
    • Chapter 1
  • Like most kids who had their musical awakening in the 90s, I cut my teeth on Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The utter simplicity of that song taught countless rock hopefuls like me how to form power chords and annoy their parents with them. Frontman Kurt Cobain singlehandedly calloused a whole generation of tiny fingers with those opening notes.
    • Chapter 1
  • When I grew bored, I would lock myself in the bathroom and by on my mother's dresses that were in the hamper. I'd stand there as long as I could, looking at myself in the mirror, wishing I was someone else, wishing I was her.
    Who was "her"? She was the person I imagined myself to be, in another dimension, in a past life, in some dream. I had never heard of gender dysphoria; the idea that your psychological and emotional gender identities do not match your assigned sex at birth. I didn't have a name for the way I felt. No information was available, and there was no adult that I could trust with my secret. I thought I was schizophrenic, or that my body was possessed by warring twin souls: one male, one female, both wanting control.
    I would look down at my body in a dress and blur my vision until it almost felt real. My eyes scanned upward, hoping to see her face, but I would only find an insecure teenage boy dressed in women's clothes. I'd do this until it was time to take the dress off and go through the motions of flushing the toilet and pretending to wash my hands before stepping back into reality.
    • Chapter 1
  • One night, I stumbled upon a sports almanac there. There was a two-paragraph article in it about Renée Richards, the professional tennis player who underwent a male-to-female sex change. This was the first time I'd ever heard of such a concept. I could hardly believe it was really possible. In the sanctuary of the attic, I read those two paragraphs over and over. I wanted this so badly, but didn't know how to make it happen. All those sleepless nights praying to God for this one miracle never got me a word back. After everyone was asleep, in a moment of pure desperation, I turned to Satan. [...]
    "I pledge my allegiance to the Dark Lord in exchange for..." I vowed to do whatever he wanted. I offered my soul, anything in trade. I begged for Satan to please, please let me wake up a woman. Not a girl, but a fully grown woman; instant emancipation so that I could run away and escape it all. I had a full, intricate plan worked out in my head. I would wake up that next morning before the rest of my family and disappear into the woods, never to be seen again. I wrote out the contract and sided it in my own blood, but of course I never woke up the woman I wished to be.
    • Chapter 1
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