Against Me!, Shape Shift With Me – Review

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Against Me!. I’ve written a fair few pieces about the punk rock quartet and how they’ve affected my life, so when it came to listening to their new album I expected a lot. Their last release, 23 Live Sex Acts, felt like a bookend to their last six releases in the sense that it collated the history and spirit of the band in a single album. It was a retrospective through the lens of Laura Jane Grace’s gender identity and the band’s new lineup. So of course their seventh studio album, Shape Shift With Me, is a fresh chapter in the band’s history.

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The Discomfort of Being a Trans Destiny Player

In the last seven months, I have put around 180 hours into the MMO-FPS game, Destiny. I picked it up at a discount during the Black Friday sales, and while I Initially only played it in dribs and drabs, it has since become a daily ritual. I found a lot of helpful information on the Destiny subreddit, as well as the party-finding services of its sibling page ‘Fireteams’. The active community even convinced me to create a new Reddit account, as I had previously deleted my old one. Pretty soon, I was raiding regularly and completing challenges I had never attempted before. Right now, Destiny is an invaluable outlet as I do not have the mental or physical health to do much else in a day.

As a teenager, I spent many hours playing Halo 3, so it is unsurprising that I am so engrossed in the lore and gameplay of another Bungie title. And hey, Destiny actually has a trans character… kinda! Suffice to say, I can’t think of another game that I have invested so much time into… which makes it even more distressing when I do not feel comfortable being myself in-game.

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10 Cloverfield Lane: A Survivor’s Story

I remember my excitement for the release of Cloverfield in 2008. I visited it’s tie-in Alternate Reality Game website extremely frequently, and perused message boards for speculation about the film’s subject. There was one theory that Cloverfield would be a live-action Voltron movie – a theory based on a short sound-clip from the trailer being mistaken for a civilian shouting “It’s a lion.” Seriously. The trailer showed very little, and it was only when the film was released that my curiosity was satisfied.

Cloverfield turned out to be a found-footage monster movie, about a group of mid-twenties New York residents trying to escape the New York City. For what it was, I really enjoyed it, and at the age of fourteen, it lived up to the hype that the marketing campaign had instilled within me. But if Cloverfield was a story about trying to survive, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a story about being a survivor.

 

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Laura Jane Grace and Burning Gender

Over the last couple of months, many musicians have called out North Carolina on their dehumanising HB2 Bathroom Bill. Though I’m sure those reading this article know what the bill is about, I will reiterate and simplify: the bill prevents trans people from using the public bathroom with which they are most comfortable using, essentially forcing them into unsafe conditions. Bruce Springsteen’s gig cancellation was the most publicised action, but other artists, including Mumford & Sons, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato and Ringo Starr, have publicly criticised the bill. Most important to me though, is Against Me!’s choice to perform their North Carolina gig in protest of the bathroom bill.

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Update, 31/3/2016

Just a quick note to say that I’m pretty spaced out right now. I’ve been dealing with a lot of new things in the last couple of weeks, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the mental energy to begin writing again.

I don’t want to write anything sub-par, so for now I’m putting my blog on hold. Hopefully not for too long.

Thanks for your support,

Wren G. Grace

Transitioning as a Person

A few days ago I was voicing my frustrations with my Gender Identity Clinic, and how they’re effectively withholding medication from me. I told my Dad that it feels like I’m in a car, revving the engine, but somebody else is holding the handbrake. Having that little control over your life, body, and autonomy is one of the most difficult parts of being a young trans person in the UK. It exacerbates all the other issues you face, and while most of society is obsessed with your physical transition, you just want to actually get on with it.

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Trans People Suffer Silently on the NHS

I came back from my last appointment at the Nottingham Gender Identity Clinic severely frustrated. I’ve spoken before about the mistreatment of trans people within NHS pathways, but I thought I had reached a point in my transition where I would have minimal issues. I’ve been on hormone blockers for close to six-months, and despite some hiccups with my GP, everything had been going swimmingly up until this point. Now it’s gone a little downhill.

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Trans Body Mod Experiences

I am, as many trans people are, very fussy about their body. So fussy in fact, that I ended up getting laser tattoo removal to fix some body art I had recently acquired. Originally, the image that adorned my arm was the logo for my favourite band, Against Me!. It was only a little while after that original tattoo that I felt that the design was too small, and wanted to expand the image. I chose the design of a skull, as it fit with the band’s aesthetic as well as the original design. I found an artist I was happy with, laid down three-hundred pounds, and at the end of my sitting I found the image to be not how I expected.

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The Myth of Legal Identity

I recently wrote an article about the process I went through of choosing a new name. It was an important step in my transition, allowing me a little more autonomy over myself. I’m really happy with what I chose, and I’m so glad that other people like my name too. What I didn’t talk about was the legality of changing your identity. There seem to a be a lot of misconceptions about it, and the process was frustrating at times, so I wanted to talk about that in broader terms. Here’s what I’ve found out.

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