Against Me! Singer Laura Jane Grace Says Arcade Fire's Defence of 'We Exist' Video Is 'So WTF'

Grace says "We Exist" video has "literally no signs" of transgender culture.

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Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace has renewed her criticism of Arcade Fire's video for "We Exist," which stars "Spider-Man" actor Andrew Garfield as a transgender woman getting beaten up at a bar.

Grace initially criticised the video on Twitter, commenting that the band should have hired a genuine transgender actor for the video, "rather than Spider-Man." The video can be seen below.

Arcade Fire singer Win Butler wrote "We Exist" after meeting gay people in Jamaica who felt it necessary to hide their sexuality. He defended the video, telling the Advocate: "For a gay kid in Jamaica seeing Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful."

But Grace rejected Butler's defence. In a series of tweets, which she has since deleted, Grace wrote: "The implication that a homeless Jamaican LGBT youth living in a sewer is going to feel empowerd because a cis, straight white male actor from movies they can't afford to see is in a music video they'll never watch? That's so wtf?"

Grace added that her main problem with the video was that it stereotyped transgender culture. She wrote: "Why does Garfield cry about shaving their head to then put on a wig, when they have gorgeous hair? Why does Garfield go to the shittiest bar ever to drink domestic beer and dance with bigot rednecks? And the idea that the band playing Coachella is their Mecca of acceptance and validation? Phfff. As if."

The singer added that she was an Arcade Fire fan and hailed "The Suburbs" as "a perfect album." But she continued: "If the song was called anything else, I wouldn’t have even had a problem with it. But it's called 'We Exist' and there is literally no signs of that existence represented. It should have been called 'They Exist.'"

Arcade Fire headline the Friday night of Glastonbury on June 27 and Barclaycard British Summer Time at Hyde Park on July 3, as well as shows at London's Earls Court on June 6-7.

49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    homeless Jamaican LGBT youth living in sewers probably never heard of Arcade fire, let alone heard of Against me!. nor do they get to see the video, so they don't care about that shit at all. Hell, I didn't even care. It's just because she's a tranny that she's so butthurt about this shit.
    Arcade Fire has spent a lot of time in Jamaica and Haiti doing music and mission work type stuff, they're new album was heavily influenced by those countries, hence why they play with conga drummers live and on their tracks.
    Trans representation isn't good enough at all levels of the media, cis-males always play them and because of this and many other reasons there are NO trans role models for anyone to look up to. It's a dire situation and trans people need to stop being the punchline.
    The media exists to entertain and in some cases, inform. It is not the media's job to produce role models for children. That's why people have parents or guardians. If there is a kid with gender identity issues, no guardians, growing up on the streets and living miserably because everytime they turn on the TV there are no tranny role models, it is not the media's fault or problem.
    But the media IS the best way of getting a point about a group of people across... If, for example, you were casting a black female character for a tv show or film and you hired a white guy to come in and black up, there'd be outrage... And if EVERY black female tv or film character from now on was played by a white male then most of the general populations ideas of what this type of person is would be completely skewed... The problem is, transgender individuals are usually incredibly depressed, there's a high suicide rate, and when the only ever examples they can latch onto in our present culture are men wearing makeup... Or are characters on tv shows that are basically used as a plot devices to make a main character feel sexually confused 'Oh god I actually slept with a MAN?'... It makes a bad situation feel much worse for the individual. Sorry for the rant, it's society's fault but it's the media that ends up doing the most harm
    Can't be sensitive to everyone's issues. It's getting awful now, you can't say anything because it might offend someone. Can't even say fat anymore because it's body shaming. It's ridiculous. Get over it. If trannies need someone in the media to 'latch onto' as you put it, again it is no one's problem but their own. Deal with it.
    You're the one who got offended by the statement I was making... ; / No need to lash out.
    I love threads like this. It really shows you just how socially-conscious and empathetic this community is. You transphobic morons are so edgy and cool.
    Watch out, we got a socially-conscious progressive on a soapbox over here. How's it feel fighting everyone else's battles for them? You get off on telling people how they should feel about stuff? No, I'm sure you're not a total self-righteous dickhead.
    At least you have a place where you can feel superior, Doogal of the internet.
    It has little to do with superiority, and a lot to do with caring about other people.
    Doogal, who isn't empathetic? Looks to me like people in here get the fact that being a tranny is tough and what she had to go through was difficult and good on her for doing it, etc... But they are also smart enough to look past the sympathy card and use logic. Logically, someone who is qualified for a position, or in this case, acting role, should be considered over someone who is simply living the lifestyle depicted in the role. If you made a movie about the tough life of a garbage man, you wouldn't go to Queens and hire some bummy real garbage man to be the lead in your film. Why would you overlook real qualified actors in order to hire a real tranny? And yes, I have read that using 'tranny' is now considered 'bad' or whatever, but I consider any shaming of words to be ridiculous. You can support people and a cause and still use slang and make jokes. Lighten up.
    *EDIT* Ah, damn. I thought this was the former Keith Caputo for a second. Nevermind. I'll go back to not caring again now...
    Huge Against Me! fan here, but sometimes Laura just needs to cool down before taking to twitter. I get what she's trying to say, though.
    What the **** is cis and why is the internet so obsessed with it?? Also, I'm sure the streets are just flowing over with genuinely talented transgender actors/actresses.
    Cis refers to individuals that adhere to gender norms, i.e. people that possess male reproductive organs and identify as male. There's some profound and dark irony in what you just said, because transgender teens are among the highest groups of people forced into homelessness and squalor.So yes, I'd wager that the streets probably [i]are overflowing with genuinely talented actors and actresses, and that's a huge problem.
    matteo cubano
    he's actually pissed off at people for defending the LBGT? Grace's stance is the only thing i'm saying "wtf?" about also: defense* UG, defense. kinda embarrassing you guys haven't gotten the grammar and spelling shit together by now...
    Matteo, defence is the correct British spelling.
    No, he's pissed off because making a video full of LGBT stereotypes isn't the best way to support LGBT rights, and he's correct. Also, "defence" is correct, too. American schools don't teach proper english, it seems.
    No, it's embarrassing that you haven't realised that Brits and Americans spell many words differently. Notice how I spell it realiSed and not realiZed because that's how we do it in the UK. If you're going to call people on their spelling and grammar, probably best to get your facts straight first.
    Van Guff
    I'd rather a CIS actor played a trans role and played it really well than a trans actor playing a trans role and doing a half-assed jobs.
    I'd rather they stopped making a deal of what gender plays the role, and gave it to the best actor for the role.
    It's more about actual representation, I assume. Also, Garfield's said some kind of stupid stuff recently, so I understand why she'd be upset.
    She shouldn't have deleted the comments. She was spot on. Arcade FIre got owned. She's ugly though. Couldn't fool me with that jaw-line.