It’s been about 36 hours since Rolling Stone broke the news on their website. After a lifetime of struggling with gender dysphoria, Tom Gabel, singer of Against Me! came out as transgender. She will begin the process of becoming a woman and will soon change her name to Laura Jane Grace.
As a massive fan of Against Me!, this announcement was shocking to me. I didn’t realize “The Ocean” was a first person account of Tom’s life. I’m far too ignorant to imagine that a confident straight guy who fronts a bad-ass punk-rock band could be battling with such a deep sense of disconnection from himself. I am an open-minded (and open-hearted) person, but I just didn’t see that announcement coming in a million years.
That said; I’m impressed and inspired. Gabel’s coming out takes incredible strength. In a world where Fox News posts headlines like this:
it is a brave soul who stands up publicly and says that they have battled with sexual identity, and they are going to let us all watch their visual metamorphosis into the person they know themselves to be. It takes a fucking punk rocker to do that.
“Tom’s decision to live life authentically is a not only a personal step forward, but one that will advance the national discussion about treating transgender people with fairness,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “As more and more Americans get to know people who are transgender, they’re coming to embrace and celebrate them.”
Not only am I impressed with Tom Gabel’s courage, I’m impressed with the way people have responded. Gabel’s “super amazing and understanding” wife, Heather, is remaining committed to their marriage. The other members of Against Me! are standing behind their band mate, continuing to record and tour.
The response from the public has been overwhelming positive as well. Comments on articles and Twitter have been almost entirely in support of Gabel’s coming-out. Within an hour of the Rolling Stone article being released on their website, someone had already changed her Wikipedia page to remove all instances of the pronoun “He.”
Following the swell of support and love, Gabel tweeted this last night:
The full Rolling Stone article, which includes details on how Gabel’s transition will affect the future of Against Me!, will be on stands tomorrow morning.