How a trans, non-binary punk band is reinventing political music – University Times

Cancer fears, transphobia and an encounter with the police as a black trans person.

This convergence of unfortunate events was the start of a trans and non-binary punk band, You Guys Suck Like Real Hard. Shut up. Thank you. – known as YGSLRHSTFUT to shorten it.

Artists often have strong belief systems that they incorporate into their work, their lives, and lately, their social media presence. For this group in particular, being political is a priority and is inevitable.

“Growing up as a black kid in a small town in North Carolina wasn’t really the best thing for me, so as soon as I could, I left,” Chella said. Coleman.

When Coleman, who uses the pronouns she and they, moved to Los Angeles, they faced homelessness while pursuing their education. She alternated between couch surfing with friends and sleeping on the streets since they didn’t know anyone in LA

College is also where she first got involved in activism and began to question their gender.

“I was in a Trans 101 seminar taught by trans people and I remember thinking, ‘This is who I am. “”

Her experiences with homelessness, being black and then realizing they were trans are what encouraged Coleman to get involved in activism, advocating for these and other discrimination issues.

Training

The group formed in 2019.

“Being in a band just happened to me,” said Coleman, who is YGSLRHSTFUT’s lead singer.

Coleman had been going through a rough patch in his depression when the people who are now in the band first played music together.

On her way to a doctor’s appointment to see if they had cancer, she was stopped by the police. Coleman was immediately scared and nervous. Getting arrested only made an already stressful day worse.

She also recently had a disappointing interaction with a friend who is cisgender or who identifies with the gender marker assigned to her at birth. A transgender person does not.

The friend did not understand Coleman’s depression and deteriorating mental health.

This all added up to the fact that Coleman was at an extremely low point mentally and one day they hurt each other.

She reached out to Uhuru Ali Moor, a person who had previously reached out to Coleman to offer a listening ear in difficult times.

” I do not know what to do. I’m really depressed and I just self-harmed. I don’t want to be alone, can I come? Coleman remembers telling Ali Moor.

The answer: An immediate “yes”.

Ali Moor got a carpool for Coleman to come to their studio because Coleman didn’t have enough money to get there.

At Ali Moor’s studio, Coleman met future bandmates Maya and Matias. After drinking, smoking and meditating, Ali Moor convinced Coleman and the others to pick up instruments and make music together.

“After doing all the songs that we had just written and put together, I was like, ‘Are we a band now? “, Coleman said. “Everyone was like, ‘Yeah, I guess?’ I was so excited. I just thought that was so cool.

“It’s our [Extended Play], Actually. Literally, we turned on the record button and we didn’t even rehearse,” Coleman added.

Coleman, who grew up with a love for all things acting, the arts and singing, said being in a band came naturally.

They play original songs they write themselves and also do covers, “everything from Nirvana to Britney”.

Their songs and their platform as a band come from their experiences as black, trans and poor as well as anti-state and anti-oppression.

“We have back to earth values, black lives matter, especially black trans lives. Our liberation is linked to the liberation of each one. We won’t be freed until everyone is freed,” Coleman said. “We are pretty much against all oppression and we use our music to let people know that.”

During COVID they did online gigs but now that things are opening up they are able to do punk venues, clubs, bars and political takeovers like their Pride takeover where they are went to set up and perform without working with the event coordinators.

One of their first takeovers was in 2019 controversial The All Black Lives Matter march, which was meant to be a march to honor queer black lives lost to police brutality and homophobia, but was often referred to as Pride during the march.

Coleman reached out to a friend at the time and asked if the Pride/BLM march would be anti-cop, pro-Indigenous, and accessible to people with disabilities. Coleman never got an answer.

“We wanted to reclaim the streets for black people and Indigenous people,” she said.

Another event organized by YGSLRHSTFUT is “Queerpocalypse”, which is used as a fundraiser to book and pay black and brown trans people.

“Queerpocalypse is a way to destroy white straight cisgender patriarchy by only featuring queer trans people of color,” Coleman said.

It features a variety of artists and performances including dance, comedy, rap and more. These events are being held online and in-person to be more accessible and to keep COVID cautious people safe. They try to hold one every few months. The next one is not planned yet.

Every year, the group tries to make an event for Trans Remembrance Day. They like to put their own punk twist on it and call it Trans Day of Vengeance.

“I think there’s something powerful about trans people getting shit back,” Coleman said. “I just think it’s powerful. I feel so blessed to be part of this group. There’s something so powerful about having events that are all trans-led.

“As a group, I think we bring that fire, that need to bring those emotions out, to be at the forefront of those discussions. I will be honest. People talk a lot about trans life, but people don’t put their money where they say. People don’t support us. It’s rare to be recognized as an all-trans or queer pop band. I need to survive. I am a black trans woman. Let’s be realistic.

Coleman urges allies and white people to start doing better to support trans people of color and challenge white supremacy. She recommends people who want to support trans people of color ask them to speak at events, compensate them for their efforts, and educate others. They also ask that people consider accessibility and safe transportation.

“I’m always about black trans people getting reparations. Don’t symbol us, make sure the events you ask us to speak to know what it’s like to be trans. It’s not for me, a black trans person, to call out transphobia or racism all the time. It’s exhausting. Allies must put their money where their mouth is and call it into the spaces they occupy. This goes for white queers who are transphobic and black queers who are homophobic. »

Coleman thinks black trans voices need to be raised now more than ever.

“Playing our music is literally therapy for us,” Coleman added. “We don’t do this because we want to be famous. We do this because we want to reverse race and gender. »

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