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Iconic Punk Rock Star Comes out as Transgender

Iconic Punk Rock Star Comes out as Transgender

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.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia CommonsCommons

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52 comments

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5:20AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012

Never heard of the band but good luck to Gable!

9:10AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Wow! I am full of admiration - it's hard enough to transition, yet alone do it when you are famous. I hope life is now fantastic for you, Laura, and that your transition goes well. I'm glad your wife and band members are being supportive as their support will help you tremendously.

6:06PM PDT on May 13, 2012

Very courageous...especially for someone that is so popular. Congrats to her for being so brave and becoming a woman!

1:42PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Fantastic and amazingly courageous! If more people could be like this, the world would be a better and more loving and understanding place. :-D Love and respect to you!

1:40PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Fantastic and amazingly courageous! If more people could be like this, the world would be a better and more loving and understanding place. :-D Love and respect to you!

6:05PM PDT on May 11, 2012

Wow, how courageous is this? Talk about the freedom to be who you are! Power to you and the band.

6:58AM PDT on May 11, 2012

I made a video about why Homosexuals should have equal rights. It’s at my YouTube channel Zarrakan, and here’s the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdK5ETOJusw

Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil Homophobes.

5:53PM PDT on May 10, 2012

Thank you, Laura! Wishing you nothing but the best!

3:31PM PDT on May 10, 2012

@Debra P- just because she's going through a transition doesn't mean her voice will be more melodious or less gritty- look at Courtney Love for example. However the transition could help expand the band's creativity and expirament with different vocal effects.

12:59PM PDT on May 10, 2012

No big deal anymore.

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