‘My transness is the most wonderful thing of my life,’ says singer Tom Rasmussen

Non-binary, trans singer Tom Rasmussen wears a yellow sweater while standing in front of a green background

Tom Rasmussen explores transness, visibility and violence in their debut album, Body Building. 

Recently, Tom Rasmussen – for years, better known as their witty, bearded drag alter-ego Crystal – has been thinking about what queer visibility and liberation mean for them.

“I was really wanting to ask what’s after visibility, what’s going on in my internal life,” they tell PinkNews.

“What goes on beyond statements like ‘Slay mama house down’ and ‘If you can’t love yourself, how are you gonna love somebody else’, or ‘Love is love’?”

Tom explores these questions in their debut album Body Building – their first project “not in any way linked to drag”.

A rumination on the queer experience, it also centres on violence and the discrimination they face in everyday life as a trans non-binary person in the UK. 

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Non-binary, trans singer Tom Rasmussen wears a dark outfit as they sing into a microphone during a performance
Tom Rasmussen said they wanted to question what comes after visibility through their music. (Getty)

“I just wanted to question and communicate visibility, and I had a lot of questions about it because, as I started to write this record, I was presenting the closest to my [gender assigned at birth] that I ever have in my life, but I was feeling so trans,” Tom says. 

“It’s such a strange thing to say. It’s not about how one person loves or how trans someone is – what a useless conversation.

“I’ve been talking about it for so long,” they add. “I’ve talked about whether I’m trans, and I’ve had questions for more than 10 years.

“I’ve thought about whether I’m doing enough, if I’m saying enough, whether all the things that have happened to me are real, whether the violence I’ve experienced is justified because I’m disgusting. 

“I’ve had weeks where I’m like: ‘The world is f**ked’. I lean more towards that and I [wanted] to get everything out and say everything that I think about this, and then I want to move on…. It’s songs about violence, about a lot of similar experiences from different angles and different responses to violence. 

“It was important to have a multi-faceted approach so that by the end I could be like, ‘I don’t think I have anything else to say.’ 

“What was so nice is it’s the first time I felt like I didn’t have to explain myself in my work. It’s the first time I’m asking the question, I’m not going to provide the answer.” 

While the album explores the unpleasant realities that LGBTQ+ people face, including ongoing transphobia in the media and in politics, Tom says it was important to craft a record that is locked in on queer experiences.

Non-binary, trans singer Tom Rasmussen wears a black sleeveless top with a rainbow plaid skirt, white socks and dark boots as they stand in front of a beige background
Tom Rasmussen wants queer and trans folks to feel that “main character” energy when they listen to Body Building. (Otto Masters)

They hope it inspires queer listeners to embrace “main-character” energy in their everyday life.

“As someone who did that and does that, I realised so often that my transness has been the most wonderful thing of my life,” they say.

“But the violence of [my] experiences caused grief, dissociation within me from what’s happening… so I’ll put on music real loud, and someone will be shouting ‘f****t’, and I’ll be in the movie of my life.”

Tom Rasmussen’s Body Building is out now.

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