In a new piece for Vulture, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace wrote about why she elected to play a show in North Carolina, even after transphobic bathroom laws were passed in the state. She did one better: she detailed the night, giving everyone a look into why it was important for her punk band to play the state.
"The nerves started as soon as I got to North Carolina. Just driving into the state, stopping at gas stations, going where you go — I was on edge all day. I always wait until there’s a unisex restroom, because I’m afraid. I also don’t want to make people uncomfortable — my desire is to feel comfortable, but I don't want to make other people feel uncomfortable either. If it’s a crowded public restroom, I know I don’t pass, and I know that if I walk into a women’s restroom, someone would possibly take offense. Maybe scream. Who knows? In North Carolina, with it being illegal, it was like, Okay, well, we’re going to wait until there’s a Starbucks, since Starbucks has single-unit bathrooms, and that’s where we usually stop. Which is ironic because I’m someone who wrote a song about throwing bricks through Starbucks's windows."
The entire thing is quotable, really. Here's another moment of power:
"After the show I made a point of making myself available and hanging out, talking with people. Someone had printed the bathroom bill on toilet-paper rolls and put them at the venue, though they changed the wording to what it really is: 'Part 1: Mandatory hate in our schools. Subsection 1: hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. 1.1: Hate, hate. 1.2: Hate ...' I met the person who had the toilet paper printed up, and we took a picture together. At that show in particular, there were a lot of younger kids — really young kids who are struggling with gender identity and struggling with that kind of discrimination. When I came out, I had no community. I didn’t know any trans people. So back then, to go on tour and immediately have people who would wait around after shows to say hey, to say they were there if I needed a friend — that meant the world to me."
Want more Against Me!? Watch an interview from 2007 with the band filmed in our very own studio, below.