Tom Gabel, who fronts the group Against Me!, has come out as transgender in the recent issue of Rolling Stone. She has been tackling the issue of gender dysphoria as long as she can remember, and will be changing her name to Laura.
It’s an interesting issue with more complexities than what you would account for on the surface. Laura’s group Against Me! have bursted onto the punk rock scene in 2002 with their debut LP, Reinventing Axl Rose. It was abrasive, anarchonistic, and simple. Against Me! have expanded outside their punk rock roots in 2007 with New Wave, their major label and commercial debut. The group have since found comfort as radio rock staples and touring with the likes of Foo Fighters and other larger bands, but they have always had a rebellious punk rock tone.
Laura Gabel coming forward as transgender can have positive effects for punk rock that could seep through all its facets. Even in the 21st century, punk rock is a very masculine music form, and though it is hevaily relient on individiuality, the masochistic aura is still there in some forms.
When asked about how she felt about another popular transgender celebrity coming out, she said “In a way, it showed me what a coward I was being. If she had the courage to come out as trans- then why the fuck didn’t I?”
Laura is currently taking hormones and is considering surgery to take it even further. “I don’t care if I lose my penis. But the surgery is scary. I’ve needed my wisom teeth removed for five years and haven’t.”
Gabel is considered to be “afflicted” with gender dysphoria, but some don’t believe it is an illness at all. An illness would entail some sort of healing or cure, and that is most definitely not the case. It is essentially means that one feels like a someone trapped in the body of the wrong gender, and though it could be considered a mental disorder, it is still relatively new and a socially interesting exploration.
Against Me! are currently prepping a summer tour with famed rock group, The Cult.
As a last note, the below lines come from a song by Against Me! called ‘Ocean’ on their 2007 album, New Wave:
“if I could have chosen, I would’ve been born a woman,
My mother once told me she would have named me Laura.”
Image Source, Tom Gabel 2010 Live Tour 2010