Monday was #TDOR — Trans Day of Remembrance. The statistics can be bleak, with as many as 41% of transgender people attempting suicide in their lifetime and average lifespans for some (specifically trans women of color) that don’t push much past 35, not to mention the quadrupled murder rate.
But there are some who also consider #TDOR to mean Trans Day of Resilience, highlighting the work of trans artists to bring our attention not only to surviving, but to thriving. One such artist in our midst here in the Bay Area is Marissa Kay, who released her album Trans Is Love last Friday.
Trans is Love is a beautifully crafted (Kay plays most instruments on the album) collection of rock songs that sway between folk and punk — truly Americana in some senses. For Kay, the political is personal — the title track was both inspired by a vigil for a murdered trans woman and, she says, “the first song (she) ever wrote as Marissa.” A few songs later, “Fight Like A Girl” takes on the patriarchy in a powerful punk rock romp with a mid-song rap by LEX the Lexicon Artist that will leave you ready to kick the glass ceiling. Closing song “Show the World Love” sings like a lost Woody Guthrie.
There are plenty of good old love and heartbreak songs as well, with stand out track “Close My Eyes” a collaboration with Carlie Marie playing bass and guitar as well as singing with Kay. “California Night” ebbs romantic singing “We climbed up late at night atop the Hollywoodland sign / Living in a silent film that California night / Can we leave our love behind amidst these troubled modern times / Or will you marry me beneath the city lights?”
The album is available everywhere now. Check it out on Bandcamp.