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Arcade Fire Respond to Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace

Karl Walter, Getty Images

Two weeks ago, Arcade Fire released a video for their song ‘We Exist,’ which was dedicated to “a young person’s struggle with gender identity.” Against Me!‘s Laura Jane Grace, who struggles with her own transgender issues, wasn’t too happy that the band chose ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ star Andrew Garfield as the central transgender subject of the video and took to Twitter to air her grievances.

Grace directed her tweet specifically at Arcade Fire: “Dear @arcadefire, maybe when making a video for a song called ‘We Exist’ you should get an actual ‘Trans’ actor instead of Spider-Man?” Now, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has responded to the comment during an interview with the Advocate, explaining why they chose Garfield.

“I thought, ‘Is this the right person — should we be using a transgender person?,'” Butler admitted. “But then getting on the phone with Andrew, and Andrew’s commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming. For an actor of that caliber to be that emotionally invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense.”

Butler also explained that they wrote the song while visiting Jamaica, a place that’s far from welcoming to gay people. And he tied their visit to Garfield’s casting. “Once something gets on the Internet, it works its way into people’s lives in a way that I think is pretty powerful,” he said. “For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion.”

So the ball is now in Grace’s corner. Will this turn into another battle like the one Arcade Fire had with Deadmau5 last month? Or can everyone just agree that enough’s enough on this subject? In the meantime, here’s the video that’s at the center of all this:

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