They told us we were girls
How we talk, dress, look, and cry
They told us we were girls
So we claimed our female lives
Now they tell us we aren't girls
Our femininity doesn't fit
We're fucking future girls
Living outside society's shit
That was the opening salvo from the first EP by G.L.O.S.S., a trans-feminist hardcore band from Olympia, Washington who abruptly exploded onto the scene in early 2015 and then broke up just swiftly a year and a half later. G.L.O.S.S. released two EPs, DEMO and Trans Day of Revenge (which opens with the similarly blistering "Give Violence A Chance"), which combined total about 15 minutes of music. But that was all the band needed to establish their legendary status in the punk world. As this great G.L.O.S.S. retrospective from KEPX explains:
Packed tightly into five songs, the eight-minute EP was like throwing an M-80 into a glass house with its powerful songs of rejecting validation from the straight boy canon and trendy mutant skinheads; decrying the performance of masculinity; crafting incendiary anthems for transfemmes, genderfluid folks, and outcasts tired of standing in the back of the venue. Spiked baseball bats beating down the structures of repression and the closets the straight white establishment force trans and nonbinary people into. Trans people being the targets of straight male bigotry and oppression. Supported by pummelling instrumentation and Sadie's barbed wire-shredded screams, the G.L.O.S.S. demo was a homicidal rebuke of transphobia and all its disgusting subideals.
Though G.L.O.S.S. is fundamentally a band conceived by and for queer and trans people, their final work as a band speaks loudly to the physically and sexually abused, the racially oppressed, the people most downtrodden by American society's desire for a monolithic culture. The survivors living with heavy trauma, those showing up to school or work with bruises. The transgender people thrown under the bus by "yuppie gays." Sadie's vocals are clear in front and the instruments are there to support the message, where oftentimes the reverse is what's practiced. Hardcore punk is essentially a sprint to the last punch, and the seven minutes of Trans Day of Revenge is no different; its heart rate spikes to obscene tempos. It's punchy, but the kind of punchy you get when your fists are taped and covered with glass shards.
It's great read on a very short-lived modern band that nonetheless epitomized that OG punk rock spirit, in a way that none of those original punk bands ever quite could. The article also explores the important socio-political context of what it means to have a band of mostly trans women singing about a violent upheaval against their oppressors — which is a pretty radical thing in and of itself.
Also those two EPs will totally rock your fucking face off.
Give Violence a Chance: Five Years of G.L.O.S.S.'s Trans Day of Revenge [Martin Douglas / KEXP]