I sat here for a while and wrote, erased, and rewrote the bones to several different articles on the recent announcement from Tom Gabel, the frontman of anarcho-punk band Against Me!. If you haven’t heard, Gabel publicly announced that he is beginning his transition into Laura Jane Grace, revealing that he suffers from Gender Dysphoria, also known as Gender Identity Disorder.
Gender Dysphoria can roughly be defined as “the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.” With that said, I think it’s appropriate to begin referring to Tom as Laura, and using the pronoun she. This mentality is different from a gay or lesbian mindset in that individuals are not necessarily experiencing a different sexual attraction, but rather a conflict with their identity as an individual in the sex they were born into.
My first reaction was to realize that I had no opinion whatsoever. I didn’t think it was a good or bad thing, because the media and political agenda on said media displays a mindset that is not harbored by the public. I can’t think of anyone I know, off the top of my head, who has a problem with sexuality outside of strict gender roles and old-fashioned stereotypes. Okay, that’s a bit of an oversight. But I really don’t know too many people who oppose acceptance, and those who do are on their way to realizing that the mindset of our generation is different, and their hatred isn’t welcome.
Modern media, from the teenage fictitious soap opera on Nickelodeon called Degrassi (check out the character Adam), to the well-respected and widely listened to radio station NPR (the story about Theresa Sparks, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission is a wonderful example), are including issues like Gender Dysphoria in their broadcasts.
Laura Jane Grace is a wonderful example of the growing acceptance of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community. She is going to serve as an example for many, many people. Her influential position as an anarcho-punk band leader is the major detail that could make or break this news.
The punk scene can sometimes be single-minded. However, I think that the group’s desire to be different from society could lead punk fans to support Laura. I also think that true fans of Against Me! will be all for the change — especially if it means a happier, more comfortable Gabel.
The only concern I have, which I’m sure is shared by many, is that her voice will change. So Laura- continue your journey, but keep making your awesome music! Here is the amazing Tom Gabel/Laura Jane Grace singing a duet with himself called “Harsh Realms”. It seems as if the lyrics have some hints to the pressure she was feeling, and is feeling about the outcome of her decision.