Tom Gabel, the singer of Florida punk rock band Against Me! has announced that he is transgender and will begin to live as a woman, under the name Laura Jane Grace. Gabel, 31, has been dealing with gender dysphoria for years, and will soon undergo hormone treatment to begin the process of changing gender.
In the band's 2007 song The Ocean, Gabel sang, "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". Announcing the news to Rolling Stone magazine, the singer stressed that he intends to remain married to his wife Heather, and is not attracted to men, saying, "For me, 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".
Reaction on Twitter has been mixed, though many of the band's fans are supportive of Gabel's decision. Kerrang editor James MCMahon tweeted, "Fair play to Tom Gabel, like. Those first three Against Me! records are three of my favourite ever punk rock records", while one fan of the group said, "I think Tom Gabel coming out as transgendered actually makes Against Me! more punk rock than they've been in a few years". The band are scheduled to play three dates in June, in Grand Rapids (2nd), Clifton Park (6th) and Charlotte (14th).