LCD Soundsys­tem

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I think the trans­gen­der um­brella is big and com­plex enough that there’s no easy an­swer. Two things I think are crit­i­cal are the prob­lems faced by peo­ple of trans­gen­der ex­pe­ri­ence who are cur­rently or formerly in­car­cer­ated, and peo­ple of trans­gen­der ex­pe­ri­ence who are un­doc­u­mented – es­pe­cially those held in de­ten­tion cen­ters. There are so many is­sues there that are crit­i­cal to ad­dress.

An­other thing that’s im­por­tant to me is find­ing a way to par­tic­i­pate in the trans com­mu­nity in a way that honors all of the things that ac­cept­ing be­ing trans has un­rav­eled for me – about our cap­i­tal­ist cul­ture – and mak­ing a con­certed ef­fort to not re­pro­duce or aid in re­pro­duc­ing the warped per­spec­tive of the cul­ture at large within our beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity.

You once said “I ex­pe­ri­enced trans­misog­yny to­wards my­self.” Can you ex­pound on that?

The crit­i­cal start­ing point for that thought is the idea that I ex­pe­ri­enced – and still do ex­pe­ri­ence – in­ter­nal­ized transmi- sog­yny. That means that it orig­i­nates from an ex­ter­nal source but buries it­self into the in­ter­nal world so it feels like I am ex­pe­ri­enc­ing those things to­wards my­self.

At the mass me­dia level, our cul­ture is pa­tri­ar­chal, misog­y­nist, trans­pho­bic, racist, clas­sist and lots of other stuff. What shocked me as I be­gan to tran­si­tion was just how much these mes­sages had in­fected my in­ter­nal world. So much of the de­nial that kept me from ac­cept­ing my trans iden­tity was based on very generic so­ci­etal myths of what a trans woman is and isn’t. I didn’t know this un­til I started to un­ravel it by talk­ing to other transwomen. I thought it was a con­flict be­tween dif­fer­ent parts of my­self but, in fact, it was an in­ter­nal­ized con­flict be- tween me and the so­ci­ety in which I was raised and so­cial­ized.

Switch­ing gears for a mo­ment to mu­sic, how did you de­velop an in­ter­est in elec­tronic mu­sic and mak­ing elec­tronic in­stru­ments that you are well known for?

As a teen, I be­came very in­ter­ested in sound as a fluid medium that one could shape and sculpt with. My first for­ays into this were us­ing feed­back from stringed elec­tric in­stru­ments and by cre­at­ing rhythms by “looping” a por­tion of a song that I found most ap­peal­ing.

Later, I craved a greater de­gree of de­tail in this work and en­coun­tered ana­log syn­the­siz- ers. As I be­gan to delve into syn­the­sis and other forms of elec­tronic mu­sic ma­nip­u­la­tion, there was a clear yet in­tu­itive re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ab­stract space cre­ated by elec­tronic sound and a flu­id­ity of iden­tity. In my case, it al­lowed me to ex­pe­ri­ence my own fem­i­nin­ity in my body dur­ing a time when I hadn’t been able to ex­press it through dress or pre­sen­ta­tion in the world. I have no doubt that this guided me to my ini­tial ex­pe­ri­ence of ap­proach­ing com­ing out in my early ‘20s and also to the place I’ve found my­self at now. Both of those ex­pe­ri­ences hap­pened di­rectly after pe­ri­ods of pro­lific cre­ative out­put us­ing elec­tronic mu­sic tech­niques.

Any­thing you want to say to the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity in At­lanta in ad­vance of the LCD Soundsys­tem show?

I am so ex­cited to learn more about it. I know that At­lanta has long been a spot where LGBT folks from the South have gone or dreamed of go­ing to be able to be more fully them­selves, be it around their sex­u­al­ity, their gen­der iden­tity, their gen­der ex­pres­sion or some or all of the above. I love that and I am so proud of that. And I want to know more about why that is!

What do you think is the big­gest is­sue that trans peo­ple face right now?

Gavin Rus­som suf­fered se­vere de­pres­sion, ad­dic­tion and was sui­ci­dal for many years be­fore de­cid­ing to take care of her­self, and later com­ing out as trans. (Cour­tesy pho­tos)

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