Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace named her new memoir Tranny (subtitle: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout), which at the very least has the eye-grabbing potential that is useful in book-selling, being a slur and all. But instead of signaling a full-on reclamation of the label, a la academic Kate Bornstein who identifies as such, Grace described having a more fraught relationship to the word as a trans woman on last night’s episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers.
“I hate that word,” she said. “I definitely don’t identify with that word. I don’t like hearing it used for other people. It’s almost mentally taxing to look at my book in ways.”
Buuuuuuut: “It captures a lot of what the book is about,” she continued. “A lot of what the book is about is internalized transphobia and self-hate, and that’s an experience I had and I went through, so it’s an apt title for the book.”
Grace says there’s a “certain amount” of reclamation in the title, of “saying the thing about yourself that you fear the most, or you hate the most before anyone else can say it.” Having “tranny” be the first word that readers’ eyes pass over is certainly a way of illustrating that mechanism (and as much as Twitter and social media in general have convoluted things, a cornerstone of good writing remains showing and not telling).
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Grace warns potential readers not to judge her book by its cover. “Just read the book, and you’ll see why it fits,” she says, sounding exactly like someone who has a book to sell. Still: intriguing.