By Bobbie Bitchgirl
For most of my adult life, I have played in punk rock bands on and off. I know, what’s the big deal? A lot of people do it. Well that’s the crux of it, it’s not a big deal, but it’s my deal and that is everything for me. I sit here very privileged to be alive and to be me without pretense. There are two reasons that I am able to do this: first, music kept me alive. Second, being me has allowed me to thrive.
What’s the big deal you say? Well, I'm guessing that I am a bit older than many of you – and in my younger days, there was no easy access to information on the internet. The only image I had of people like me came from the likes of the Jerry Springer Show. That combined with societal attitudes toward the LGBTQ community led to one severely depressed and repressed trans woman living in fear of anyone learning her awful truth. This is where the music came in.
Punk rock offers a consuming intensity that takes every bit of whatever it is you have when you play it right. Over the years, I have learned that this sometimes enough. I also learned a lot of people are under the mistaken notion that punk musicians don’t play all that well, because for me, the intensity was not enough, and I met people along the way who felt the same way. There were the hours of escape from practicing when everything else brought pain and fear. Practice has a certain meditative zen quality to it for me. Chords, scales, exercises, repeat. Nothing but notes and hands. No pain, no regret, no fear, no distraction. Hours upon hours of blissful nothing. Then the rehearsals and live shows? That’s when the rage of having to hide came out.
None of the bands ever went anywhere, but that was okay. I got enough from it to not hate myself to the point of self-destruction. Eventually, though, getting by stopped being enough. The self-loathing and vanishing self-esteem brought me to the point I needed to thrive or die. That’s when I decided to transition.
Funny thing about transitioning, practically overnight, my guitar playing noticeably improved. Amazing what being comfortable in your own skin can do for you. Also, I am playing in the best band I have been in in terms of songwriting, musicality, and live performance chops – Gina Harlow and the Deepthroats. I missed CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City the first time around because that was before my time, but I did make it to play for the Max’s Kansas City 50th Anniversary Show back at the beginning of June. No gold records, still operating in the red, but I can at least say I play in a band that was booked by Peter Crowley.
Bobbi Bitchgirl is guitarist for Gina Harlow and the Deepthroats. Like their Facebook page then come to every single live performance. It will make you a better person. And come out to their show in Washington D.C. on July 30th.
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