Against Me! Singer Tom Gabel Comes Out As Transgender

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Tom Gabel, lead singer of punk band Against Me!, has revealed he is transgender and plans to start living as a woman.

Eventually, Gabel, 31, says she’ll take the name Laura Jane Grace, but he will remain married to wife Heather: “For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news,” Gabel says in the issue, out May 11. “But she’s been super-amazing and understanding.”

Now working on their sixth album, Against Me! is on tour with The Cult through this summer. Gabel, who started the band as a solo act in 1997, is realistic about the road ahead: “I’m going to have embarrassing moments and that won’t be fun. But that’s a part of what talking to [the magazine] is about—hoping people will understand, and hoping they’ll be fairly kind.”

In the Against Me! song “The Ocean,” Gabel hinted at her desire to change gender: “And 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.”

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  • Francis


  • Belize

    I was wondering when this was going to get covered here. I was so shocked when I saw this at Pitchfork earlier. It was just so unexpected. But I wish her well.

    Personally, my biggest concern as a listener is how this will affect their music because a lot of their songs are heavily anchored on the traits of Gabel’s voice especially on live performances. I’m feeling a bit anxious about that. Needless to say, though, I really do hope she finds happiness in the decision to go through the transition.

    It’s not going to be easy; the alt music scene in America, despite all its professed “openess” in terms of artistry actually does have a lot of closed-minded intolerant bigots who aren’t very accepting of changes occurring on what they’re used to experiencing. But then again, what can you expect from a community that produces appendages likes Hipster Runoff.

    Anyway, good luck Laura. :)

  • Belize

    @Francis: It is, isn’t it?

    The thing about these kinds of shifts is that the transition happens both ways to a certain extent. I know that in essence, it is usually the same for private individuals but considering the fact that the band has been around for a long time and that a lot of people have been enamored by them, a lot of people will also have to get used to changes like–as I said earlier–the sound of their music and, in my case, the use of pronouns. Some people hate change. Some people hate and FEAR it so much that they drastically vilify, berate and victimize the source of the change. The facet of the music scene that Gabel belongs to is no different. There are going to be a lot of low lives for sure.

    I hope that this doesn’t discourage her if she feels that this is really the necessary path that will give her happiness.

  • Belize

    PS: And as I type this, bigoted morons have begun to flock Youtube videos of the band. How predictable.

  • Alex

    Yep, brave woman. I’m sure that she’s thought about how this will affect her career but life is short.

    Given that her current music is very aggressive, I wonder if she’ll follow in the path of some of rock’s more aggressive hard rock female singers, like Joan Jett.

  • Alex

    Shame on you, Dan Avery. How come you can’t use the proper pronouns for Laura?

  • gogo

    if you’ve ever been to an Against Me! show, you know that there are literally hundreds of shirtless, sweaty, young, heterosexual, punk, white males singing along, slam dancing, and hanging on the lead singer’s every word. Hopefully, with Laura’s brave announcement and transition, this will open up their minds about trans folks and what they’ve been taught to believe about gender.

  • Jabaroo

    Good for her, I’m happy she is finally getting to start her transition. Personally, I’m excited to hear what’s next for Against Me! I don’t think the vocals will negatively impact he band at all.

  • NerdyLesbian

    Are you referring to this part of the article? “he will remain married to wife Heather”

    That could be a gender pronoun typo, but it could also be a reference to a lack of marriage equality. I’m not sure where the couple lives, but it may be a state where Tom and Heather can be legally married, but Laura and Heather cannot.

  • Alex

    If it has a penis, and some testicles, why do we call it she or her? If I came out as a lobster, will people identify me as a crustacean? It’s my identity damnit!

  • Jabaroo

    @Alex: ‘It’? You’re certainly ignorant. In her heart she feels like a female, I respect that and I respect her so I would address her with female pronouns. You don’t understand what it feels like being trans, neither do I, but you don’t need to act like that about the subject.

  • Kaitlyn

    We refer to her as a her because that is her identity. its rude to not respect someone identity. sex if your genitals gender is who you are. whats between your legs doesnt make u a man just as whats there doesnt make someone not a woman. if a guy was castrated in an accident and was ambiguous down there would you call him her from on? or shim? I aplaud laura in this. i know first hand how difficult a road it is.


  • Cynthia_Lee

    Good for her. I hope she is able to maintian her music career.
    And the haters can all go suck lemons, being trans is hard enough without peons casting hateful remarks in her direction.

  • Geri

    @NerdyLesbian: In the UK some married couples have had to get divorced and then get a civil partnership instead. Maybe vice versa as well, not sure. Hopefully we’ll get equal marriage law soon.

  • Kp

    No disrespect I am just trying to learn, but how about her wife? What if she doesn’t experience same sex attraction? Prob cross that bridge I guess when they come to it? Or maybe it is a more unique partnership than what I would imagine? No definite answer I’m sure just wondering what folks thought

  • UsualPlayers

    @Kp: That would be between and her wife. As she said, the wife has already accepted it. This was stated in the article. Now, that may or may not change, but that is still between the two of them.

  • Larkin

    Good on your for being what you want to be, but as a completely side topic, I have to ask, why are transgendered included in the gaysphere? Weren’t they always straight and now just have a surgical correction?

    Maybe somebody smarter than me can explain it, because i don’t get it. It’s like a colored person clamoring to be on a queer’s coattails… just because they are colored.

    And before any of you queens try to start shit, that’s the proper term… at least as long as their national organization is going by it.

    Oh snap.

  • Geri

    @Larkin: “Good on your for being what you want to be, but as a completely side topic, I have to ask, why are transgendered included in the gaysphere? Weren’t they always straight and now just have a surgical correction?”

    It’s more complicated than that.

    Gender identity is not the same thing as sexuality. An individual trans person might identify their sexuality as straight, bisexual, gay/lesbian, queer, fluid or something else. Most of the trans people I know are bi identified. And say they are straight identified – they are still liable to be regarded as gay &/or queer by people who don’t respect their gender identity.

    Also the particular M2F person this thread is about is married to a woman and they intend to stay together. So they are going to be a same-sex couple. And they may always have been a non-heteronormative couple.

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