Thursday, December 31, 2020

Women in the Band

Recently, I wrote a post spotlighting a punk rock musician (Laura Jane Grace) who made the transgender transition to a woman in the middle of her career.

Perhaps you may remember, one of the all time Cyrsti's Condo regulars, Connie (below)

is also a musician as well as Paula in Great Britain. 

Connie sent in this comment concerning her interaction with her fellow musicians:

"Punk fans would, most likely, be more accepting than would, say, Country music fans to see a musician make an mtf transition. One of the things that held me back from transitioning was my music. Not that I had "made it", at all, but it was a big deal for me to make the change from a front man to a front woman. Even though the band's bookings became more plentiful with me as a woman, the guys in the band felt we'd become more of a novelty act.

 I was told that I needed to make up my mind which gender I was going to perform as. It was not difficult for me to make the decision, as my transition was already in motion. It wasn't the first time, nor was it the last, that a woman broke up a band. I just did it a little differently. ;-)"

My only question was did you have to give up your music before the pandemic took it away anyhow?


  1. I feel for musicians who had been trying to make a living from their music before Covid. Typically, most musicians don't even earn minimum wage for the set-up and tear-down of their equipment, let alone their performance (after countless hours of rehearsal). This being New Year's Eve, when it may have been possible to play a gig for a decent paycheck, it's even more depressing. I never have given up on my music, and I will always consider myself a musician, whether I ever perform on stage again or not.

    As a nearly-seventy-year-old transgender woman, I see very few opportunities for me to perform after this pandemic is over. I will probably only ever be able to sit in with other musicians for a few numbers, sign up for "jam nights," or (ugh) sing Karaoke. Those are what I had been doing for the last couple of years before everything shut down. I fear that even those opportunities will be limited after those venues who will have survived the long shutdown can begin to reopen and start recouping losses. If they had little money to pay musicians in the past, they will have much less of it in the near future.

    My band mates were correct in claiming I was a "novelty." I understand how I can be perceived that way, even though I try very hard to show I am not. I don't do a drag act, but it can be difficult enough to change that perception from the get-go. I think the best I can hope for now is that I'm seen as a slightly washed-up lounge singer, using the piano as much to prop myself up as for musical accompaniment. Having given up on any notion of "making it," I picture myself singing the last lines of the Billy Strayhorn song, "Lush Life.":

    Romance is mush,
    Stifling those who strive.
    I'll live a lush life,
    In some small dive.

    And there I'll be,
    While I rot with the rest,
    Of those whose lives are lonely, too.

    On that note, have a Happy New Year! ;-0

  2. My experience as a trans musician has probably been a bit different to most, for a number of reasons, I play mostly as an amateur, and I play in orchestras, concert and brass bands. I came out rather dramatically but so far have had only positive reactions from other musicians and audiences alike. I am quite sure that I have not got a couple of conducting jobs I've auditioned for because of my gender identity, but is that because I'm trans or because I'm a woman?

    Curiously a pro "German" Band I used to play in (you might call them polka and waltz bands) had a rolling membership in all there were a bout 30 of us, but we would generally go out as a five or six piece (sometimes up to three a night!). We had a very good trombone player, who was clearly having issues, he was ultra competitive and could verge on aggressive. We later found out that he was trans and gave up playing after she transitioned, I have often thought that if either of us had felt able to say anything we might both have been saved a lot of angst.