Trans woman and musician, Steph May, has released her first single ‘One Life’ and is calling on the trans community and its allies to support her in getting into the UK singles chart in time for Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st.
In order to rank in the UK music charts, Steph’s song ‘One Life’ needs to get 8,000 downloads or 800,000 premium user streams between the release date of 26th March and TDoV on the 31st March 2021.
As Steph says:
“My idea is to be visible through something that I do, not just for who I am”.
Watch and listen to a preview of Step May’s debut single ‘One Life’ here…
Let’s help Steph get into the charts – a visible trans woman spreading music and joy.
‘One Life’ is available to purchase and download from your preferred music listening service. The track costs just £0.59p – We think it’s well worth the price to see a trans musician ranking in the UK charts on Transgender Day of Visibility.
DOWNLOAD ‘ONE LIFE’ BY STEPH MAY HERE:
LET’S GET A TRANS MUSICIAN INTO THE UK CHARTS ON TDOV 2021!
Here Steph shares her story…
Transition, Music and Visibility
I can’t think of a better way to raise awareness and visibility of trans people than through music – but then for me, the two have been linked for as long as I can remember.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties I was desperate to make it in the music industry. I’d played in bands for years. My first band, when I was 14, was a hobby for the other 3 members, for me it was a step towards achieving my career goal and I took it seriously. When the band split up a year later I was devastated. I should have understood that we were 14 and it was just a bit of fun, but I was so focused on that being my route into music.
The following few years I spent my time trying to build a replacement band. I was desperate to find loyalty and at one stage I even made a friend sign a paper contract saying they wouldn’t walk away. It’s laughable thinking back on it now, but at the time I was looking for like-minded friends who would show the commitment I felt.
By the time I started sixth form I was listening to more rock and being a musician was giving me the opportunity to experiment with my look without suspicion. I was playing in a three piece rock band, wearing dresses on stage, makeup to school, but to most I wasn’t transgender, I was just a musician being different. This suited me. It was the year 2000 and I’d known I was trans for about six years by this point.
Of course, I didn’t define it as being transgender then. I didn’t even know if I was different or if all boys thought they might be girls too. Was it a phase? Would it go away? If I’m being honest I hoped it would. There’s no way I would have been able to tell anyone I was transgender back in 2000. I didn’t have the confidence or the words to be able to do it. But, I was able to dress as a woman on stage, wear makeup, be myself without anyone putting two and two together. Music helped me feel comfortable during a very turbulent point in my physical development.
As the band progressed and we got older I stopped what I thought of as “the girly dressing” and decided that that part of me should be hidden forever. It will go away as I grow up, I thought.
As the years passed I moved to Manchester with the band, we were taking it seriously, but I was desperate to ‘make it’ and the other members were just enjoying it. The truth was that I didn’t really enjoy it. I loved writing music, I loved being in a band, I enjoyed the feeling of being on stage, but a lot of the lifestyle involves waiting and sitting around – in the studio, backstage, watching bands you don’t really want to watch.
It was only in my early 30s, quite a few years after I’d finished playing in bands, that I realised that I wasn’t really that interested in the musicians lifestyle, I was using this as my route to transitioning.
My thought process was simple, as a musician in my teens I had been able to do what I wanted and no one said anything, so as a professional musician I could transition and I wouldn’t have to deal with any fallout, any difficult conversations, or “first days”. The thought of transitioning whilst working in an office job seemed an impossibility.
Once I realised this, I understood why I’d acted the way I had for so many years, desperately trying to live a musicians lifestyle, a lifestyle I really wasn’t suited to. This was the start of my slow process to accepting that transition was the only way I was ever going to be truly happy and at peace. I was terrified of the consequences of transitioning and it took until I was 34 before I actually took any steps to start the process.
Fast forward to 2021. I transitioned over a year ago and I have a much more positive outlook on life. I’m focused and determined, not so much on music, but on being myself, being happy, being true. I still record music, but now it’s a hobby and I enjoy it.I don’t play live, haven’t for 11 years now, but I can enjoy creating and that’s all I need. In the first lockdown back in 2020 I needed to find something to keep myself busy. I decided to write and record an album, an autobiographical album with each song representing a different point in my life. I released it just before my 35th birthday, the album’s entitled ’35’.
I really enjoyed the process of making the album but I had no interest in doing anything more with it. In fact, once I’d completed the project, I didn’t even pick up my guitar for a few months. It was nice to forget about music again and just enjoy life.
Then lockdown two, January this year. I wrote a song called ‘One Life’ and I had an idea. Music and gender dysphoria have been so interlinked all my life, my transition separated the two but I wanted to bring them back together, not for a career, not to find an easy route to transition, but for visibility. There are many ways to be visible as a trans person and I’ve been searching for what I feel I can do, what I feel comfortable doing. I don’t use social media much, and don’t feel comfortable dealing with some conversations on those platforms. I thought about doing it through music and it felt right.
So my plan, I’m releasing ‘One Life’ on the 26th March. I’ve gone to the trouble of registering it with the UK charts company. My idea is to be visible through something that I do, not just for who I am. I wish I’d seen more trans representation when I was younger so that’s what I want to do – imagine a trans woman in the top 40 of the UK charts, even better imagine it during the week of TDOV. I need your help to make it happen. It won’t be easy, we’d need roughly 8000 downloads or 800,000 premium user streams.
‘One Life’ is out on the 26th March – to qualify for the charts for that week, downloads and streams will be counted from the 26th March through to the 1st April. It will be available to download from Amazon and iTunes and streamed from Spotify, Google play, Amazon, Youtube music, and Apple Music.
It’s a big ask, but who wants to try?