Kate Lamothe (mindtheft) wrote,
Kate Lamothe

Reflections of a transpunk

    So a couple weeks ago was Pop Montreal.  The music was awesome.  Spent most of my time at the Weird Punk series.  Saw An Albatross, Chinese Stars, Japanther, DD/MM/YYYY, The Death Set, Shearing Pinx, T.V.Ghost, Lydia F'ing Lunch, and a whole slew of other bands.  Also, with the exception of the odd friends' show here and there, this was my coming out as  woman into a scene I used to love prior to transitioning. It's been a lil over  2 years since I sold off 75% of my records, stopped going to shows, stopped reading hXc message boards.  In other words, a lil over 2 years since I dropped out of the "scene". 

    It has remained a strong part of my consciousness though.  I mean its because of punk/hc that I can attribute my introduction to feminism, my introduction to queer politics, my vegetarianism, and my intro to race and racism. I constantly find myself looking back on the kid I was at 14-18.  I remember going to 2-3 shows a week.  They meant something to me at the time but looking back I remember feeling like they were extensions of highschool in some ways;  microcosms of a racist, sexist, homophobic larger culture.  I remember the time I went to Hellfest.  Shit that was over 6 years ago now!  I remember that out of the 100+ bands that played that weekend I was most impressed by The Blood Brothers because they seemed truly different than 99% of the chugga chugga mosh bands. 

   I think what I'm getting at is that what spoke to me at that time in my life was not Hatebreed, Right Brigade, A Death for Every Sin, No Warning, Ten Yard Fight and all those other tough, sXe bands.  Yes I went to their shows. Yes I bought their records.  But looking back I remember feeling peer pressured into liking them.  I remember talking with the older kids who were in Miles Between Us, etc and constantly feeling like I was being judged.  I was knee deep in a scene that felt wholely alien to me. Alien because of its homophobia.  Because of its racism. It's sexism.  I remember feeling like I couldn't bring these issues up because it wasn't cool to be "PC." It was more cool to be ironic and funny and tell everyone who wasn't moshing that they were "pussies and cunts"  I remember always feeling queer.  I came out as bisexual when I was 15. But I never knew how to express my queerness in that context.  The first time I kissed a queer boy in public was at a punk show.  But expressing my queerness felt especially awkward when I lived as guy who primarily dated women.

   I remember having only a handful of other people that I felt comfortable talking to about the bands that really meant something to me.  Bands like Shotmaker, Saetia, Born Against, Bikini Kill, Yaphett Kotto, Los Crudos/xLimpWristx, & Fugazi..  I remember always thinking that something was missing from the "scene" as I knew it.  I went to hundreds of shows between the ages of 13 & 19 in Ottawa but the ones that stuck out most in my mind were the ones that featured "unusual" bands for Ottawa: Tastes Like Burning, Love Lost But Not Forgotten, Funeral Diner, Takaru, Buried Inside.

   What sparked this reminiscing was the fact that at the Pop Montreal shows  I couldn't help feeling like people were staring at me in that "you fucking queer" type of way.  People I knew "from before" but haven't sat down with and had a convo about my transness.  Not that I want to or need to but you know it still makes me feel like I'm a fucking outcast!  It's hard when I'm trying to enjoy the band thats playing and there's some douchebag with his arms crossed in front of him staring at me the whole time!  I don't feel like mentioning names but he's notorious in both the Ottawa & Montreal scenes (I'm sure some of you folks know who I'm talking about). Anyway, suffice it to say I clung to other women/queer folk the entire time.  Here's where I can mention names: thank you Grant, Val, Katja, Veronique, Cody, Simon, Jordan, C, Tave, and other folks who made me feel like it was okay to be queer/trans and remain a part of the "scene."

   I guess this is what giving up your privilege feels like.  I went from a pretty damn privileged position (white, straight-identified bisexual, male) in society to a highly stigmatized one (still white, queer-identified lesbian transsexual woman).  Like I mentioned just now though it wasn't all bad  I did have some really nice moments.  I re-introduced myself/came out to an old friend of mine and had a really nice convo about it.  We both used to abuse substances quite a bit together when I first moved to Montreal.  He told me about how after we stopped hanging out he got really fucked up on coke. I told him how I got really fucked up on booze.  We bonded over the fact that we are on different paths in life now.  It was great!

   Anyway, enough rambling for now.  Point of this post is that I've been listening to a whole lot of ebullition style hc/screamo records these days and being nostalgic for a place and time I never really experienced. 

Anyone want to start a shotmaker cover band? Anyone? Anyone?

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