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Local MN author documents her own love story with a trans woman during the 1980s and 1990s, making it up as they went along

Jun 05, 2023 08:40AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Drury Lane Books

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - June 2, 2023

Minnesota author Lynette Reini-Grandell has always had a love of writing. Growing up in Duluth and coming from a family of teachers, she constantly found herself reading. It was also when she discovered her love of writing poetry. 

Nowadays, Lynette teaches at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, still writing poetry. In fact, it wasn’t until 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, that she decided she wanted to document her and her partner’s love story to share their experience and help preserve history. 

The timing wasn’t coincidental. 

“I wanted to share my side of our story. I was not much of a journal-er up until that point, but I wanted to put down our experience as a couple in the trans community chronologically,” she said. 

Reini-Grandella and her life partner met in 8th grade at a high school in Duluth. “We were friends, but we didn’t start dating until later on,” she added. 

Fast forward a few years, and they were both active in the local art scene - Lynette with her poetry and her partner, Venus de Mars, lead singer for the band ‘All the Pretty Horses’. 

Venus is transgender and came out to Lynette and the rest of the world in the 1980s.

“This was a period of time when not a lot of people were publicly transgender, and there was no one to look up to. We were making it up as we went along. Many people were critical. Many people thought we’d get divorced,” Lynette said. 

This brings us back to 2016 when she decided she wanted to document their journey and experience, as well as how society and the world has changed towards the transgender community in the past few decades. 

The book, titled Wild Things: A Trans-Glam-Punk-Rock Love Story, came out in March 2023. 

“The book highlights my side of our story navigating through society starting around 1983 until 2009,” she shared. 

Revisiting and journaling the relationship was “Psychologically centering and painful.”

Lynette shared that they had to go through points in their lives that hadn’t really been addressed and revisit those things - something that many of us wouldn’t be so eager to do. 

“We had to go through and put pieces together of things that went wrong. Things that wounded me,” she added. 

As difficult as this process was, Lynette says she’s glad it happened because they were able to work through stuff together. 

The process also helped when two years after she started writing the book, Venus came to her and said she wanted to undergo surgery to complete her transformation. Venus also wanted to officially change her gender and name. 

“This was something Venus always said she wouldn’t want to do, so it was a surprise to me. It was another piece we had to work through,” Reini-Grandell said. 

Overall, the response to the book has been really positive. 

“I’ve had lots of great feedback from people who are part of the trans community, and those who aren’t. People come up to me after readings and share their own journey through society as a trans person, or if they are married to one,” she said. 

When asked what she hopes people take away from the book, she said: “I hope people take away how important it is to emphasize with all types of people.”

Lynette will be doing a reading of her book at Drury Lane Books in Grand Marias on Friday, June 2nd. You can find more information about that event here:

You can learn more about the book here: 

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