Laura Jane Grace is unbelievably chill and down to earth, especially for a loud, unapologetic, punk rock megastar and renowned author.

Grace — the frontwoman of the band Against Me! — came out as a transgender woman in 2012, becoming somewhat of an icon for the LGBTQ+ community. During the Student Entertainments Events fall concert series event "Music and Musings with Laura Jane Grace" Thursday evening, she answered fan questions in the Stamp Grand Ballroom, followed by an intimate and commanding unplugged set.

"My love for [Grace] can only increase, so it only increased exponentially when she came out," said Laura Missett, a 29-year-old from the area. "It was a really cool moment for me and made me think. I would say that kind of launched my transgender awareness in my own community at that point and made me to be a better ally."

Grace released a memoir — powerfully titled Tranny — in 2016. She described writing a book as "an odyssey" in an interview prior to the SEE performance.

"I was disappointed that when I went in [the publishing house] they weren't like, 'Here's the keys to the cabin, here's a pack of cigarettes and here's a bottle of whiskey, we'll see you in a couple of months,'" Grace said. "Some of my illusions of what it meant to be a writer were shattered, but that was OK. … I looked at it all as a really valuable tool of being able to do a self-examination and look at the life you're living."

The content of her book is often emotional and personal, as much of it comes from Grace's journals. The singer said that sharing intimate life details with such a large audience was a positive thing for her.

"With coming out specifically, the pro was being able to do something like a book or giving a magazine interview and being like, 'Here everyone, digest this on your own,' as opposed to having a million one-on-one conversations," Grace said.

Coming out as a transgender woman has also impacted Grace's musical work. She's working on balancing writing lyrics as an art versus a form of free-flowing self-expression and venting.

"Songwriting, to an extent like writing lyrics, you should use metaphor — or I like it when people use metaphor — and oftentimes someone's experience, in order to relay it to people you have to use metaphor that they can understand," she said. "I don't want to lose that entirely and have everything be very, very straightforward. But on a personal level, being able to be honest with myself about who I am and the way I feel is a lot more liberating as an artist because then you don't have to be self-censoring, but it's still something I'm learning about."

August Napolitano, a 19-year-old student from Goucher College in Baltimore, is an artist who draws inspiration from Grace. They chose this event by recommendation from a program supervisor and felt connected to Grace because they identify as nonbinary.

"There's something that's really grounding about seeing her in person and talking to her," Napolitano said. "It kind of solidified what I said [during the Q&A] about how it's really inspiring to see a trans person making art and being universally accepted for it."

Her performance went unsupported by amplifiers due to a sound malfunction when she tried to play the guitar. After some failed attempts at fixing the technical issue, she sat on the edge of the stage and let her strong vocals carry new, unreleased and often untitled songs, as well as a Mountain Goats cover and two Against Me! tracks.

She debuted an untitled song about President Trump, in which she described him as "a Nazi fuckin' president from reality TV" and asserted, "You can't trust a man with hair like that." She also shared a song about going to the park with her daughter, called "Park Life."

"It's the first kids' song I think I've ever actually written, so, at the moment, that's my favorite song I've ever written," she said.

Grace also shared stories about her daughter throughout the event. Many who asked questions mentioned being parents, seeking advice about raising "badass" children and letting their kids freely express gender.

Despite continual reminders that she's "not perfect" and doesn't have all the answers, Grace was happy to share advice with fans on parenting, as well as songwriting, fostering creativity and more.

Longtime Against Me! fan Calvin Crunkleton appreciated Grace coming to this university and sharing her experiences and new music, despite the low-key vibe that starkly contrasts with typical punk-scene concerts.

"This was the most not Against Me! thing I've ever been to in my entire life," said Crunkleton, a freshman international business and Spanish major. "This was so weird because the last time I saw her, I got punched in the face and it was amazing, but I didn't get punched in the face here, I just was trembling because I got to talk to her."

Grace is aware of the impact she has on her fans and uses her music as a means of connecting with them.

"There's people who will come and go — they'll be into your band for a couple records and then they move on in life — and there are lots of people who I've met who are like, 'Hey, I used to listen to you and then I drifted or whatever, and then I came back after you came out, and I came out too, and I'm transitioning too,'" Grace shared. "Hearing people that knew they were attracted to the music and what was being talked about but didn't understand why until later … it makes me feel like they were picking up on things that I was putting into the songs and they didn't even realize it necessarily. I find that really rewarding."