March thirty first is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day meant to rejoice trans individuals in a world that ceaselessly marginalizes and mistreats them. This yr, as states like Arkansas move cruel laws aimed toward denying trans individuals healthcare and dignity, observing today feels particularly necessary — and the historical past of trans resistance provided by Boston-based artist/activist Evan Greer’s new music video for “The Tyranny of Both/Or” couldn’t be extra well timed.
The tune is a pop-punk anthem that would slot in with Inexperienced Day’s Nineties hits, with lyrics described in a launch as “an indignant open letter to TERFs and different transphobes.” Greer sings over surging guitars: “From the second we’re born, we’re compelled to battle for each breath… You play the sufferer, our existence is a risk/However we weren’t those to declare warfare.”
The music video opens with footage of the late activist Sylvia Rivera speaking at a 1973 rally, difficult the mainstream homosexual liberation motion of that point to do extra for transgender individuals, individuals of coloration, incarcerated individuals, and different susceptible communities. The video goes on to chronicle the essential function of trans individuals in historic occasions just like the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot of 1966 and the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, highlighting the novel politics which have powered this motion by the a long time, and celebrating the contributions of Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and others.
“A lot of this historical past is hidden and inaccessible, particularly for younger trans and gender-nonconforming individuals,” Greer writes in an announcement. “So why not have a pop-punk music video that’s additionally a mini-documentary concerning the motion for trans and queer liberation?”
Greer’s assertion continues: “It’s been greater than 50 years since Stonewall, and trans and gender-nonconforming persons are nonetheless below assault. We nonetheless face systemic violence and discrimination, and we nonetheless need to battle simply to have our fundamental humanity acknowledged. Not simply by the general public at giant, however even throughout the mainstream LGBTQ rights motion, which has persistently did not battle for essentially the most marginalized members of our group, particularly Black and brown trans ladies, intercourse staff, incarcerated individuals, and unhoused youth. ‘Tyranny of Both/Or’ is a tune that I wanted as a younger trans particular person navigating the world. It’s about reconnecting with our collective historical past of resistance and self-determination, and celebrating the entire bullshit that trans individuals have overcome whereas recognizing how a lot additional we nonetheless need to go.”
(In case anybody is questioning, Greer confirms to RS that the title of this tune shouldn’t be interpreted as a sneak critique of Elliott Smith’s basic 1997 LP Both/Or: “I truthfully couldn’t consider a single dangerous factor to say about that album,” Greer notes with fun. “It’s extra simply concerning the gender binary and excited about it by the lens of an pointless and repressive construction that has simply dominated so many individuals’s lives for literal centuries.”)
“The Tyranny of Both/Or” is the newest single from Greer’s new album, Spotify Is Surveillance, out April ninth on Get Higher Data — the righteous Philly DIY label that has introduced us nice punk data by bands like Empath, Control Top, and Suzie True — and Don Giovanni Data. Bandcamp proceeds from the one will go to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.