Crash the Gate, an album from Virginia natives Cab Ride Home, features relentless pounding drumlines, heavy riffs, and lyrics dripping with irreverent celebration of all things debaucherous and destructive.
First released in April 2017, it now has more resonance than most thrash metal due to the recent election of the group's vocalist, Danica Roem, to the Virginia Legislature—the first openly trans candidate ever to win public office in the United States.
National media hailed her election as a watershed moment for trans acceptance in America. Rarely mentioned was Roem's role as a metal vocalist par excellence. Metal and trans identity are both forms of self-expression that blur and break traditional categories, whether stifling gender roles or restrictive mainstream musical conventions.
Both, too, have faced their fair share of government scrutiny. Trans people have been tarred as deviants and sexual predators for wanting to use the bathrooms of their choice. Metal artists have been dragged before Congress for their lyrical content, while their fans have been branded as Satanists and child abusers.
Roem's election shows in a small way that Americans are moving on from worrying unduly about how their neighbors (and their representatives) dress, talk, and rock out.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Cab Ride Home".