A few notable exceptions aside, rock ‘n’ roll is generally considered a man’s game, and heavy rock is especially male dominated. Babes in Toyland might have been one of the most ferocious punk bands of the last twenty-five years but nobody gives a shit anymore and a lot people still believe that women aren’t supposed to rock unless they’re dressed in skintight pleather and belting it out Xtina-style. Now, though, one woman appears to be challenging that notion in a pretty surprising way.
Tom Gabel of Floridian punk band Against Me! recently announced to his fans and the music world at large that he intended to begin life as a woman, taking the name Laura Jane Grace. After initial concerns from fans that this could mean the end of Against Me!, or at least Gabel’s sharp, growling voice, Gabel confirmed that she would remain married to her wife, graphic artist Heather Gabel, and continue fronting Against Me! While Considering I can think of only one other instance of a biologically male member of a notable hard-rock band undergoing “the transition” – Keith Caputo of Life of Agony became Mina Caputo in October of 2011 – this is a pretty monumental event in the history of transgender people in entertainment.
With an outpouring of support from the music and transgender communities – there remain some ignorant, bigoted “ex-fans” throwing around insults and hate speech – it looks like a pretty positive start to Laura’s new life and, although the transition is never easy and isn’t something most cisgender people cannot really comprehend, with notes like this from the likes of WWE champion CM Punk, Laura’s path will hopefully be relatively easy one.
@tommygabel courage and bravery. I got your back.
— CM Punk (@CMPunk) May 9, 2012
Against Me! continues its current tour supporting The Cult and fans can look forward to someday seeing a liberated Laura jane Grace, “six-foot-two, in heels, fucking screaming into someone’s face.”
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