Gabel (hereto referred to with feminine pronouns) formed Against Me! in 1997, and the group soon became a staple in the underground punk scene with albums such as “Reinventing Axel Rose” and “As the Eternal Cowboy.” The band hit it big in the mainstream in 2007 with their first charting single “Thrash Unreal” from the album “New Wave.”
In an interview with Josh Eells, Gabel speaks of her private struggles with gender dysphoria, her decision to transition and the process by which she will do so. The singer will eventually take the name Laura Jane Grace, and will soon begin undergoing hormone therapy and electrolysis treatments.
Gender dysphoria, classified in the DSM-IV as gender identity disorder, describes the condition of individuals who experience discontent or disconnection with the biological sex and/or the gender they were assigned at birth. While this is by no means an uncommon condition, Gabel’s revelation marks the first time a major rock star has admitted to these struggles and has undergone the transition in the public eye.
For this reason, it is important for the singer to come out publicly and be open about her decision. “I’m going to have embarrassing moments,” she says, “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.” The singer will remain married to her wife Heather, who has been “super-amazing and understanding,” according to Gabel.
In February of this year, Against Me! began work on their sixth studio album, entitled “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” The record was originally classified as a concept album about a transsexual prostitute. Now, however, Gabel’s personal connection to the theme is blatantly apparent.
In hindsight, this theme is obvious in some of the band’s older works as well, most notably in “The Ocean” from the hit album “New Wave.” It in, Gable sings, “And if I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I’d grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.”
Clearly, Gabel realizes the potential her news holds in a world ridden with both anti-woman and anti-LBGTQ rhetoric. Judging from responses on the various social networking sites, a majority of Against Me! fans, while shocked by the news, are nothing but supportive:
- “Fantastic news about Tom Gabel. Good on you, lady! It’ll be interesting to see how this affects Against Me!’s new material.”
- “Fair play to Tom Gabel, like. Those first three Against Me! records are three of my favourite ever punk rock records.”
- “You got a problem with Tom Gabel? You’re no friend of mine.”
- “Important thing is not that Tom Gabel is trans, but that she feels she can transition and talk about it in such a prominent public position.”
The full interview with Gabel will be available in the latest issue of Rolling Stone which will hit stands this Friday, May 11.