Today marks the day for International Transgender Day of Visibility. On this day, we celebrate those who identify as transgender but we still have a long way to go with raising awareness of the issues that transgender people experience every day. Many have used their experiences to help others, whether it be through their music, or talks on Youtube. Here are ten artists to look out for:
Formerly known as Antony, the lead singer of Antony and the Johnsons, she changed her name to Anohni after becoming a solo artist. Under this new name, she has released Hopelessness, with her final performance on the 18th of November last year. Anohni has been nominated for Oscar for Best Original Song for ‘Manta Ray’ and the Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist.
Sing-songwriter Skylar Kergil is not only a folk musician, he has created several Youtube videos on both his music and the topic of transgender. He has also written a book based on his experiences called Before I Had The Words On Being a Transgender Young Adult.
Mainly famous for his work as a musician, Ryan has produced albums including Soul Sounds and has been recognised by several magazines including Billboard Magazine and Rolling Stones Magazine. He is also a public speaker, writer filmmaker and actor, currently writing both a memoir and a new album.
Laura Jane Grace
As founder of the Floridian rock band Against Me!, Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender in 2012. Alongside her band, they have created several albums including their latest album Shape Shift with Me and Transgender Dysphoria Blues. She has also written two books called Tranny and Kill Me Loudly.
As the leading singer for the Canadian rock band The Cliks, Lucas Silveira is one of the first transgender men to be signed a major recording contract. The band’s first album was released in 2007 by the name Snakehouse. After transitioning, Lucas later released a solo EP plus a few covers.
Ezra Furman is an American musician and songwriter in the band Ezra Furman and the Harpoons. This was formed in 2006 before Ezra decided to realise his first solo album in 2013. Ezra has recently released his latest album Transangelic Exodus. Ezra used to see himself as gender-fluid, however, in a recent interview, he believes that this term isn’t right for him. Nevertheless, he still expresses how important it is to talk about these topics and continues to express them in his music.
Formed in 2010, Aye Nako is an American pop-punk band, dealing with issues such as gender identity, race and gender. Writing songs that they wanted to hear when they were teenagers, the band classify themselves as “queercore”.They have released two albums, Unleash Yourself and their latest, Silver Haze.
American singer and songwriter Shea Diamond struggled with her gender role from a young age. Despite her love for singing, she was afraid of her own voice. After spending ten years in prison, she gained wisdom from others like her. She has not only used this empowering knowledge in her single ‘I Am Her’, she has released several other singles such as ‘Seen It All (It Gets Better)’.
Rocco Kayiatos (Katastrophe) is an American hip-hop artist and poet who started his career just at the age of seventeen. In 1999, he was invited to attend the Sister Spit Rambling Road Show, where his poetry turned into hip-hop music. He was one of the first open transgendered singers in hip-hop music.
Mina is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Life of Agony which was formed in 1989. Despite disbanding in 1999, they reformed in 2014 with transitioned Mina as their lead singer. They have produced five albums, including their latest A Place Where There’s No More Pain in 2017.
If you would like to hear more music from these musicians and others like them, click here to listen to the Transcend playlist on Spotify.
Image: Secretly Canadian PR