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Against Me! Laura Jane Grace Criticizes Arcade Fire's Transgender Video


Laura Jane Grace

By now everyone has seen Arcade Fire’s video for their ‘Reflektor’ song ‘We Exist’, where Spider-Man Andrew Garfield struggles with his gender identity and dresses up as a woman. He goes to a bar and soon gets abused and beaten for dancing with a man, but triumphs at the end.

Well, the clip didn’t really please Laura Jane Grace, the transgender frontwoman of the band Against Me! On Thursday morning, she took on Twitter to express her discontent: ‘Dear ‪@arcadefire , maybe when making a video for a song called “We Exist” you should get an actual “Trans” actor instead of Spider-Man?’

Immediately her tweet was picked up by the blogosphere, asking the question, why was she so pissed off? After all Arcade Fire had only good intentions while doing this, right? They wanted to give all their support to the LGBT community, right? Well Laura had a good point, why choosing a straight man for representing someone who has chosen to become a woman? And why Garfield out of all people? Because of his star-power-of-the-moment? You bet! Laura wrote a whole album ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ about her own experience and may be people who don’t go through this should not touch this delicate and complex subject? Or at least not this way….

It would be the equivalent of me (a white female) writing about the story of a black man in the US, wouldn’t it be perceived as pompous and patronizing? I wouldn’t even dare of course! But the crazy part of the video is the end, the beating gives Garfield some kind of dancing superpower and he starts to dance like Jennifer Beals in the 90s classic ‘Flashdance’. Then, thanks to some mysterious time/distance travel tunnel, he arrives at Coachella in front of the stage where Arcade Fire is performing. A bit silly and self-serving, should we conclude that the ultimate transgender’s lifesaver is Arcade Fire! Or at least this song of theirs is supposed to be. Are they becoming the new Bono?

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