Last month, Laura Jane Grace very publically came out as transgender in a Rolling Stone feature, bringing to close 31 years of living with a carefully guarded secret and effectively beginning a brand-new life.
Of course, things weren’t quite as simple as that: Laura’s revelation only came after an intense year-long period of self-evaluation and open, often painful honesty. And when she and her Against Me! mates sat down with MTV News for their first on-camera interview since the Rolling Stone story broke, they spoke at length about just how she came out to the band .
But that’s only part of the story. Because before Laura shared the news with her friends, she had to come out to her family, including her wife, Heather. And, as is often the case with life-altering events like this, there’s been some collateral damage along the way — including the unwanted attention Laura’s transgender life has brought on Heather and their daughter, Evelyn.
“I mean, my daughter is my biggest worry of it all. Heather, my wife, has been my rock; she’s shown me support and love beyond my wildest expectations. On this tour in particular, it’s our first family tour, and she has, from the get-go, made sure people realize it’s Laura, to use the correct pronouns, and has been my biggest advocate and supporter. And whenever I’m feeling like I need any kind of strength, I look to her for that,” Laura told MTV News. “For my daughter, I’m hoping it doesn’t affect her in any negative way, as far as kids can be cruel to each other, once she starts school. It’s already weird enough when your dad is in a band, explaining that to other kids, but when your dad is transsexual as well … I just hope people are kind to my daughter.”
In the Rolling Stone piece, Laura also expressed doubts over just how Heather’s parents would handle the news — they’re described as “somewhat conservative” — though, as she revealed, she’s been overjoyed by the support they’ve shown her.
“I saw them actually, for the first time [since the RS story published] when we played in Chicago,” she said. “I woke up on the bus and they were all in the front lounge, and I came out wearing last night’s makeup, my hair was all disheveled, and it was like, ‘OK, here’s everybody! Good morning!’ But they all couldn’t have been more supportive and couldn’t be cooler about the whole thing.”
Sadly, the same can’t be said for Laura’s father, a retired Army major with whom she’s never truly been close. At the conclusion of the RS story, Laura said she still hadn’t told her father she was transgender — though obviously, since the news came out, he’s aware, and he’s had a difficult time coming to terms with her new life. Though, tellingly, Laura isn’t letting that stop her on her new path. If anything, it’s inspired her to continue — if not for her sake, then for her daughter’s.
“It has completely ended my relationship with my father. It is what it is,” she said. “For me, there were so many things leading up to this decision to come out to this publicly. Having my daughter, like, I had never had that close of a relationship with my father, and when I had my daughter, my father tried to become more a part of my life, because he obviously wanted to have a relationship with his granddaughter. And as I saw that develop, and as we became closer, because of that it was something that started to tear me up inside.
“It was like, ‘OK, here we are, I’m building this relationship and setting this example for my daughter, and what are the ramifications of that if this person doesn’t even accept their son? And then they’re going to develop a relationship with my daughter; what kind of example is that setting to them?’ ” she continued. “I wanted this in so many ways to be a line in the sand with people, as far as ‘This is me. If you have a problem with this, then get out of my life.’ And if that’s the way it is. It’s unfortunate, but what can I do about it?”