Tom Gable, the lead singer and founder of the influential punk rock band Against Me! announced plans to begin living as a woman this week. Against Me! was founded under Gable in 1997 near Gainesville, Florida, and the group, while going through a number of metamorphoses, continued to garner success and praise for their protest music. Gable remained the only constant band member throughout the years as the band solidified into a four-piece ensemble in the 2000s.
Gable, 31, is the only major rock star to openly announce her transgender identity. She plans to begin living as Laura Jane Grace in the coming months, according to Rolling Stone, which will have a full interview with Gable in the June edition of the magazine. She will remain married to her wife, Heather, as she begins hormone treatments and electrolysis, and is considering whether or not to pursue gender reassignment surgery.
Gable’s openness and honesty about her transition provides an educational avenue for a broader culture that often fails to understand transgender discrimination or identity. Gable wrote and performs the song, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” a reflection on the challenges of living in a body which does not feel like home. The lyrics state, “You have no hips to shake, You know it’s obvious, But we can’t choose how we’re made.”
While popular renditions of transgender identity, such as the film Transamerica, have helped to bring issues of transgender discrimination into the mainstream consciousness over the years, Gable serves as an especially powerful icon for the transgender community. For an individual who has a fan following based on a male identity, the decision to openly change her identity illustrates a bravery and committment to personal integrity that is commendable.
The Huffington Post quoted the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD’s) support of Gable’s difficult decision to come out under national scrutiny. Furthermore, Gable shares a vulnerable and open image of herself in her public announcement. The Rolling Stone article displays an image of Gable wearing a black dress, her hair twisted up into a black towel, sitting on a couch, glancing out of the window in a reflective and relaxed pose.
Fans of Against Me! know Gable for the strong, loud lyrics of songs such as “Thrash Unreal,” Gable’s voice a gritty instrument layered over clear guitar riffs. The band has plans to tour with The Cult at the end of the month while Gable continues to transition into her identity as Laura.
According to a quote from GLAAD President, Herndon Graddick on GLAAD’s blog, “We’ve seen nothing but support from Tom’s fanbase online, and we hope her story will help countless transgender youth who have not had someone like her to relate to before.”
Gable’s announcement is an inspirational moment for the music industry and for the LGBTQA community as a whole. It will be exciting to see how Against Me! transforms and transitions in the coming months as Laura Jane Grace continues to inspire fans and supporters alike.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia CommonsCommons