Tom Gabel, the frontman for punk band Against Me! has bravely revealed publicly that he’s transgender, and plans to live as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the 31-year-old Gabel courageously discussed the difficulty of dealing with the condition known as gender dysphoria, having only told close family and friends about a plan to become a woman before talking to Rolling Stone. “Growing up, my experience with transsexualism was nothing but shame,” Gabel says.
The singer, who is married with a two-year-old daughter, plans to undergo hormonal treatment and electro dialysis, as well as considering gender reassignment surgery.
He also plans to remain married to his partner, Heather. Speaking to Rolling Stone he confessed ‘the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news… but she’s been super-amazing and understanding.”
“I’m going to have embarrassing moments, and that won’t be fun. But that’s part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they’ll be fairly kind.”
Fellow rockers, The Gaslight Anthem, have also shown their support of Gabel’s difficult decision. Chastising insensitive cynics through an online post to “leave the guy alone. How about you let another human being make a decision about their lives without your snide prejudices and bigotry? This is one of the hardest decisions a person can make.”
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) have also shown their support with a blog post that says Gabel’s decision is, “not only a personal step forward, but one that will advance the national discussion about treating transgender people with fairness.”
The president for GLAAD, Herndon Graddick, again speaking to Rolling Stone, applauded Gabel’s “extraordinary courage by coming out as transgender after already establishing herself as a rock star. For many of the band’s fans, this may be the first time they’re actually thinking about transgender people and the bravery it sometimes takes in order to be true to yourself.
Indeed, the difficulty of dealing with such a decision, let alone publicly and as the central component of a punk band whose audience regularly deals with derision, means Gabel should be championed for his honesty with his fans. In fact, the dedicated amongst Against Me!’s fanbase would have noticed hints of Gabel’s struggle already.
Previous songs have dealt with the singer’s gender dysphoria, most explicitly in the acoustic-led Gender Dysphoria Blues. While The Ocean features the lyrics “If I could have chosen/I would have been born a woman.” Another line foreshadowing the name Gabel is to take, Laura Jane Grace, in the lyric “My mother once told me she would have named me Laura.”
Though Gabel didn’t discuss the future of Against Me!, they will still be supporting The Cult on their forthcoming US tour.