Florida punk-rockers Against Me! have always made honesty a policy, discussing scene politics, social politics, and issues of justice and hypocrisy with an insight and power. But who saw this one coming: After a long battle with gender dysphoria, Tom Gabel of Against Me! has decided to start living his life as a woman, according to his interview in the new issue of Rolling Stone. Gabel's new name will be Laura Jane Grace, combining his mother's name (Grace) and what he would have been named if born female (Laura). Gabel will remain married to wife Heather, with whom he has a 2-year-old daughter.
"I'm going to have embarrassing moments and that won't be fun," Gabel told Rolling Stone, "[I'm] hoping people will understand, and hoping they'll be fairly kind." The future of Against Me! won't be revealed until the June issue of Rolling Stone hits stands on Friday, but the band is scheduled to perform with The Cult at Marquee Theatre on Friday, June 22, so that's a good sign.
Gabel plans on taking hormones and undergoing electrolysis, and who knows exactly what that means for the future of the band? Once Gabel is done transitioning, we could imagine her voice falling somewhere between Tegan and Sara or the riot girl passion of Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna.
We support Gabel and this unique, frankly inspiring choice, but sure hope that Against Me! continues on with Laura Jane Grace at the helm. And if they do, here are six songs we would love to hear them rip apart.
But no need to "find an honest man to make my husband," right? In a move that challenges so many ideas about what this kind of transformation means, Gabel has said that his wife will be standing by him, and that he's still attracted
attracted to women.
Tom Gabel started a successful punk band and had a great time doing it. Nothing seems braver than Laura Jane Grace taking the reins. Her courage reminds us that this shit rules.
Shortly after As the Eternal Cowboy was released, one of my friends pointed out that this song would have sounded great with alternating male and female vocals. Maybe Laura can have a guest join (Matt Skiba? Chuck Ragan? The possibilities are endless), or just sing the song as a lady -- the song would still work and no lines would need to change.
"Jordan's First Choice"
How is Laura going to handle the screaming?
"Searching for a Former Clarity"
This is one of Against Me!'s saddest and most powerful songs. The story of a man suffering from a terminal disease parallels to Gabel envisioning himself dying on stage.
"Walking Is Still Honest"
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Enough said. Here's to winning fights.