Hear great trans voices sing out for greater trans visibility

Rainbow flag with musical notes

Inspired by the Transgender Day of Visibility 2023, I offer just a small sampling of the amazing, usually underappreciated VOICES of Trans singers (and songwriters too, usually). Listen to the playlist “Great Trans Voices” on my Spotify account BEaREALMAN. Follow musicians on Instagram: use their @name, below.

T Thomason’s exquisite version of “Lovers In A Dangerous Time” — I can’t articulate its excellence. I can only express bafflement that this track hasn’t been taken to heart by the world. My single favorite track of 2021, and I still feel it’s not too late for it to become a worldwide smash. Someone put it in their movie or TV series! @swtbbt

Adeem the Artist’s “Middle Of The Heart” is songwriting at its best. I’m not afraid of over-praising and raising expectations too high. Its empathy is breathtaking — I literally gasped in awe and wonder, and had to catch my breath the first time I heard it. To this day I become emotional, listening to it. It’s my favorite 2022 song (…of any not written by Frank Turner. See the last track listed.) The album it’s from, 2022’s White Trash Revelry, shows massive progress in Adeem’s writing and performance skills since their last album. @adeemtheartist

Ezra Furman has teetered on the edge of mainstream popularity within Rock & Roll and Folk for almost two decades. Starting off with a sound that evoked Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, Furman has evolved a distinctive musical personality. Try as I might, the best “Sounds like…” I can arrive at is, maybe like Melanie (hey, I love her) at her most vulnerable working alongside the visionary side of Nick Cave. In any case, Ezra’s songwriting has gotten stronger with every new release. “Point Me Toward The Real” and “Further In Sunset” are from her latest album All Of Us Flames. @ezra.furman.visions

I was nearly shocked to first hear anything by Left At London only last year, and discovered EPs going back to 2018. Rock and Roll doesn’t know what it’s missing. “My Old Ways” is from 2022’s Transgender Street Legend Vol. 3 (yes, there are Volumes 2 & 1). @leftatlondon

Laura Jane Grace, Joan Jett, et al bring us the one song on this list not written by the performers. They cover “Androgynous”, written by Paul Westerberg of The Replacements over 40 years ago, which has become something of an anthem. Grace has shared possibly the most public transition of any musician, and their final two albums with the excellent Punk band they led, Against Me!, 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues and 2016’s Shape Shift With Me, are must-hears for any fan of any Loud Rock. @laurajanegrace @joanjett

I first encountered Ryan Cassata a decade ago at a Queer Music Festival in upstate New York (MC’d by Justin Vivian Bond; see below). I was impressed then and have been nothing less than impressed by his output ever since. His biographical About on Spotify is worth the easy search to read. And his voice!! Oh my goodness — A friend I played their music for thought they would naturally be a teen idol with a voice (and appearance) like his. “Hold On, You Belong” and “We March (Stronger Together)”, made with the band Hello Noon, could be, *should be*, sung in the streets by masses of demonstrators. And then played at home just to lift one’s spirits. @ryancassata @hellonoonband

Finn Brodie’s “Birthright” is the newest track on this list, and just by sharing it with a few friends I’ve seen real appreciation for it from people in different walks of life, which confirms my faith in it. Don’t forget to play the video too. @finn.brodie

Addison Grace‘s “I Don’t Want To Fall In Love” was one of the highlights of their EP Immaturing – one of two EPs he released in 2022, both among my favorite (40) releases of the year. @graceful.addison

Quinn Christopherson followed up his 2019 win of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest with the full length album Write Your Name In Pink. Included on this list is the non-album acoustic version of the album’s “Thank You”. @quinnchristopherson

“Pride” by Trans Trenderz with Blxck Cxsper, who is their founder, and Lady Londyn “was created in collaboration with the ATQ, a Quebec based organiation which aims to support trans and gender non-conforming people before, during and after their transitional journey” – transtrenderz.com. @transtrenderz @blxckcxsper

On “BLACK” (feat. Basit & Ocean Kelly) Bob The Drag Queen speaks the unadorned truth. It was the track I played most last November, the month it arrived. @bobthedragqueen

Justin Vivian Bond is one of my activist heroes. Nuff said? “The Golden Age of Hustlers” is the oldest track on this playlist, and more importantly it’s a heroic homage to a recent but seemingly distant part of our past. @mxviv

Finally, “Miranda” by Frank Turner. Not a Trans person himself, it’s the story about how the father-son relationship evolved between him and his Trans dad Miranda. Again I’m unable to express the extent of both my adoration for this song and my incredulousness that it hasn’t been taken to heart by a huge audience. I couldn’t leave it off this list. As an unprecedented act of love placed in a song, as an extraordinary act of empathy, as a true, autobiographical celebration of family, of healing, of growing into the person you are meant to be, it’s my favorite track of 2022. @frankturner

Bill Realman Stella
Raised in an average-income, average-sized, intact nuclear family, Bill Stella didn't rebel against average things so much as he chose to avoid them as much as possible. Between ages eights and 14, Bill's best friend was Out In Jersey's own Leon Calafiore. Since then he's dreamed of owning a radio station broadcasting that "Music Is The Highest Common Denominator," where well-crafted song-segues are heard as works of art. His goals are to remain curious, and to become more of who he is. He also could use a good job.