Every once in a while a band comes along that looks to normalize under represented communities, championing equality in a society that's looking to make life difficult for people already on the fringes of society.
I'll admit I'm late to the party with Dream Nails as I literally discovered them when they released their self titled debut album in August of this year. It came at a time when I was just starting to pick up a bass, but also I was at a low. I was fed up with lock down, fed up with not seeing my girl friend, my mates, missing gigs and festivals as most of us were. This album lifted my spirits and then when I heard Vagina Police 2.0? Well I'll let you find out my reaction as you read on.
Dream Nails are one of the bands who despite the current restrictions on live music and us having no idea when we'll be in sweaty venues again I had to buy a ticket for their 2021 tour (you can here) - In the interim you can read on to find out who their influences are, the importance of visibility and their message for their LGBTQIA+ fans this Christmas.
Dreaminisfree: So if you were describing your music to someone who hadn’t heard you, how would you describe it?
Feminist punk rage-joy! Political, queer, and fun
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
Mimi: Billie Joe Armstrong and Lady Gaga
Janey: Less Than Jake and Sharon Jones
Anya: Kurt Cobain and my piano teacher when I was a kid, Sylvia Hallett
This feature for Dreaminisfree is highlighting LGBTQIA+ artists to help inspire people on our community that their sexuality or gender identity doesn’t need to prevent them from being successful. As a trans female I understand all too well the lack of representation we have as a community. Do you think that it’s important to highlight these experiences and identities and if so why?
Visibility is vital - not least because it claims the public space that queer and trans artists have a right to take up, but also because it can show aspiring queer and trans artists that it’s possible, that what they have to say and create is valid.
Mainstream media seems intent (as well as some authors who shall not be named) as making trans people’s lives as difficult as possible. Has any of this impacted any of you at all? Can you share how you’ve overcome any challenges you’ve faced due to your identity?
It’s easy to speak of ‘mainstream media’ as a faceless monolith, when in reality, what we’re talking about here is white, cis, straight men and women in positions of power who are making incredibly harmful editorial decisions that impact the lived realities of trans people. Let’s not let them get away with being invisible or unaccountable. As a band of cis women, we haven’t directly been affected by transphobia, but we have had people walk out of our shows when we make the disclaimer onstage “not all women have vaginas”.
The more visible your queerness is, the more unwanted attention, discrimination and violence you’ll face, and we know that this is compounded for queers of colour.
Your debut album ‘Dream Nails’ has been so well received and one of my favourite albums of 2020. Were you anticipating it would be this well received?
What’s been phenomenal is how well it’s been received from fans and the press, and how it sold out on vinyl, and we didn’t even go on tour!! We were gutted we didn’t get to perform across all the venues and festivals we had planned. In some ways though, our album landed in the perfect political climate.
On the album the song ‘Vagina Police 2.0’ the track before spoke of being inclusive of non-binary people, reproductive justice and not all women having vagina’s. I swear the first time I heard this on the album I cried and even now I get misty eyed whenever I hear this. I just wanted to thank you for sticking up for my trans siblings rights
It feels important in this political environment to make that disclaimer. In many ways, the title ‘Vagina Police’ applies to transphobic feminists too, who are very much policing what womanhood is.
We’re constantly learning and we want to be active trans allies. If there’s anything we’re not getting right, or could be doing better, we’re always ready to listen and learn.
Events in Hungary, Ukraine and Poland have seen rights for LGBTQIA+ people reversed in last eighteen months. We’ve also had the anti-trans rhetoric here in the UK, since the Governments GRA consultation. Its as if trans peoples identities have become weaponised by exclusionary feminists in an attempt to prevent any progress. Yet there is no empirical data to support a rise in crimes against women in countries that allow trans people to self identify or non-binary people are legal. What’s your views on this?
Bodily autonomy is a core feminist principle; we are each the experts on our bodies, from abortion to transition, to wearing a hijab or choosing sex work to make a living. In a patriarchal world that seeks to control us, we should be free to make the choices about our bodies that affirm the lives we want to lead. It’s as simple as that. So it seems wildly inconsistent that transphobic feminists feel entitled to prevent trans people from exercising bodily autonomy. There is no universal lived experience of womanhood. The privilege and entitlement in positioning themselves as gatekeepers of womanhood, and stating that trans women are not women, is astounding.
When trans people are facing devastating rates of hate crime and fatal violence, it’s unforgivable that these gatekeepers of womanhood are still fixated on wild, fear-mongering delusions of hypothetical situations. It’s both an embarrassment and a distraction to the feminist movement. Cis, trans and nonbinary people are all ritually brutalised, murdered and traumatised by the violence of cis men, and our collective liberation will only happen if we can work together.
Your single ‘Lonely Star’ is coming out to raise funds for the LGBTQIA+ charity The Outside Project. What made you choose this charity specifically and how can we help?
The Outside Project is the UK’s first LGBTQI+ homeless shelter and community centre, and they have really stepped up over lockdown to provide a safe space for homeless queers to be. We know that Christmas is always tough for the queer community, so we wanted to show our solidarity and support. Go to our bandcamp where you can donate to download the song.
Other than ‘Feministmas’ what your plans for this Christmas?
Resting. It’s been a busy, busy year for us and we’re excited to step back and sink into a period where we can celebrate what we’ve done, and rest up for what’s coming next!
If you had a message for any of your LGBTQIA+ fans what would it be?
We see you!!
If any LGBTQIA+ artists are keen to collaborate in this series of interviews then please email firstname.lastname@example.org