LCD Soundsystem musician Gavin Russom has opened up about being a transgender woman in a moving essay for Pitchfork.
The 43-year-old synth player says that she’s made an effort to make her trans identity known every ten years—as a child in the 70s, during puberty in the 80s and then throughout her adult life.
“What makes this time different is that I'm in a stable moment in my life,” she writes. “Working with LCD Soundsystem all last year and then having a solid block of time off to focus on self-care was really important for me.This is what came out of that. I don't like coming out so much as a term, but sometimes it's the only way to say it."
She says that she was on her way to transitioning in her 20s but was faced with harassment and violence when she presented as gender non-conforming or feminine.
“Sometimes, if they happened to be walking behind me at enough distance where they would read me as feminine, they would catcall me. Getting closer to me, they would see me as masculine and then become very angry. I was assaulted on a number of occasions.”
Russom says that these experiences and the difficulty of grappling with her gender identity “definitely led me into some self-destructive behaviours, particularly around addiction and substance abuse.”
“In the past, it consistently clouded or interrupted my ability to get into the kind of relationship with myself I needed to. I had to really work on that stuff and get it out of the picture.”
She goes on to write that there was "something unmanageable for me about living as a cis man".
"I was working so hard just to present this image of myself that ran very deeply counter to who I really am. There's nothing theoretical or intellectual about that. It's the physical thing in my body. It felt like there was almost another person constantly walking next to me being like, “Hey, hey, hey, pay attention to me, hey, hey, hey.”
Russom says that she feels blessed to have transitioned in New York City, where she has connected with a diverse network of transgender women.
“I think the most helpful thing was talking to people with different transgender experiences, especially those with upbringings, economic circumstances, and ethnic backgrounds different than my own.
“It allowed me to hear all these different perspectives and see the ways in which the trans experience is so varied and so individual. But also, there are certain things that seem to be common threads."
The musician says even though she’s gone through “42 and half years of denial” it’s given her a lot of experience and hopes that by coming out, she can help to influence people's perception of the transgender community.
“There may be people who are fans of either LCD or of my own music who really don't have any experience with these things. It's so easy to develop prejudices when you've never encountered a person in whatever group you’re prejudiced against.
“I hope there's an opportunity to be of service and share my experience [in a way that’s] true to the music.”
Fans of the band have been supporting Russom on Twitter, praising her for bravely sharing her transition story.
LCD Soundsystem is embarking on a world tour this July, Russom's first shows with the band since coming out.