In an illuminating profile on Grindr ahead of LCD Soundsystem’s new album, Gavin Russom, the band’s synth player and vocalist since 2009, has come out as transgender. (Russom uses female pronouns and prefers “Gavin,” but may change her name.) It’s a process she says has been decades in the making, but one that only started becoming public earlier this year. “This is my fifth decade being alive,” she tells Grindr, “and in each of those decades, there’s been a time where I’ve tried to say, ‘Hey, I think I’m transgender!’ This was even before that word existed.” Russom, 43, says she has identified along “the feminine spectrum” since she was young but felt anything outside of traditional binary gender might be at odds with the culture of bands: “You have to be a boy or a girl,” she thought. She later navigated queerness and gradually learned to embrace her identity through dance music and studying gender in Berlin for five years before returning to New York in 2009. She also tells Pitchfork she attempted to transition in her 20s but was “assaulted on a number of occasions.”
Russom officially came out to LCD Soundsystem earlier this year, explaining that she didn’t want to spend another album cycle not living visibly as trans. “My body rejected it in the same way that it now utterly rejects going into a men’s bathroom or when somebody calls me ‘sir,’” she says, noting her bandmates have been “really supportive.” “The general feeling in the group is that will make the band better,” she says. Russom plans to use her platform with LCD Soundsystem to encourage others who wish to come out and to advocate for trans rights: “For anybody who is struggling with their gender identity or who wants to come out and is afraid to, what would be better than giving someone permission to do that through my performance?” According to Pitchfork, Russom will give her first public performance as a woman in a DJ set at Chicago’s Femme’s Room party — a local haven for femme and queer culture — on July 13.