Hunter Park talks about growing up trans in Charleston

She Returns From War frontwoman tells her story to Refinery29

Singer-songwriter Hunter Park shared some of her life experiences for a story about transgender millennials that was published Friday on Refinery29.

Park is best known in Charleston as the frontwoman of folk-rock band She Returns From War. She says the story was based on an interview she did with a Refinery29 reporter, who condensed her words into a first-person narrative for the site.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve ever really committed to talking about it openly,” Park says. “It was just one of those things I’ve never really thought to bring up. I know so many amazing transgender activists in the community, and I see how much passion and work they put into being an activist, and I’ve never done that kind of work before, so I’ve never wanted to be an activist.”

The resulting story is a powerful testimony. You can read the whole piece by clicking here, but this passage in particular stuck out to us:

No one ever said it was easy to be a girl. It’s tough. I learned that attitude from my grandma, who is a very strong woman. I’ve grown up around very powerful women, and I’ve seen how hard they worked to carve out the lives they want for themselves.

Park’s band name, She Returns From War, is a translation of the Native American girl’s name Anaba. Does the name have anything to do with her grandmother? “Absolutely,” Park says.

Park was raised in Charleston by her grandmother, whom she refers to as her mother and talks about frequently in her song lyrics.

“I read this phrase, ‘She Returns From War,’ and I was like, ‘Whoa, I can get down with that,’” Park says. “And I talk about my mom quite a bit in my songs, because she’s a big part of my life and I think she’s lived an interesting up-and-down kind of life. No matter what she goes through, she puts her best face on, and it could be the worst day ever, and she never really lets herself show her weaknesses or her negative emotions.”

The latest She Returns From War EP, which is self-titled, is available for download on Bandcamp. The band will also have a new song featuring Electric Grandma on the upcoming 2015 SceneSC Sampler, which will be released Tuesday at

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