Against Me!'s Tom Gabel comes out as transgender; will perform at Orlando's House of Blues in June
Tom Gabel, the lead singer of acclaimed Gainesville punk band Against Me!, has a voice made for rock ’n’ roll, a razorwire growl perfectly suited for raucous songs with titles like Piss and Vinegar and I Was a Teenage Anarchist.
So what does it mean that Gabel now plans to start living as a woman?
In a story to be published in Rolling Stone on Friday, Gabel will come out as transgender, saying she’s been living for years with gender dysphoria, and will soon transition to life as a woman through the use of hormones and electrolysis treatment. In becoming the first major transgender rock star, she will take the name Laura Jane Grace and remain married to her wife, Heather.
“For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news,” said Gabel. “But she’s been super-amazing and understanding.”
Gabel said she decided to tell Rolling Stone about her decision because she wants to be as open with fans as possible. “I’m going to have embarrassing moments,” she said, “and that won’t be fun. But that’s part of what talking to (Rolling Stone) is about — is hoping people will understand, and hoping they’ll be fairly kind.”
What does this mean for Against Me!, whose 2007 disc New Wave was named Album of the Year by Spin magazine? “As for her voice, she’s not worried right now,” the article’s author, Josh Eells, told RollingStone.com. “So far the only kind of medical thing she’s having done is hormones. She says the estrogen doesn’t affect your voice. It she goes ahead with some of the cosmetic things — like tracheal shaving, which whittles down your Adam’s apple — there’s a possibility that might affect her voice. But she’s really hesitant to do that because of that. As of right now, she should sound the same, as loud and aggro and awesome as ever, just as a woman.”
So now, a question: Does this news suddenly make anyone else want to go to Orlando for that show?
As both a fan of Against Me! and a guy who's interviewed Tom Gabel, it's amazing that I've somehow never seen them live. It seems like every time they come to Tampa Bay -- and it happens quite a bit -- I'm always somewhere else. In a way, this current tour will double as a farewell tour -- if not for Against Me!, then at least for Gabel, as she becomes Laura Jane Grace. The Orlando show may be Central Florida's last chance to see the "classic" Against Me! before Gabel's transformation. Whatever happens with the band, it'll be fascinating to watch from here on out.
What do you guys think? Who's going to Orlando in June?
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*