Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Will Against Me! survive Tom Gabel's transgender journey?

I was first introduced to the punk rock band Against Me! with the song featured above, "Don't Lose Touch". Gabel's vocals have a gutturat quality to them and the driving beat of the drums drew me to their music. I was totally blown away when they officially made it big with their breakthrough album featuring this song, "Thrash Unreal".
Again, more guttural vocals with a totally catchy hook and a kick-ass video with some equally meaningful lyrics about a young woman who has pissed her life away as a party girl. Imagine my surprise, though, when I cracked open my browser early this morning and see both Against Me! and lead singer Tom Gabel as hot search trends. Imagine my further shock to see that Tom Gabel publicly announced that he is dealing with gender dysphoria and considers himself to be transgendered and will be transitioning to life as a woman.

 I have to think that this is a first in the rock world -- think about it, have you ever before heard of a straight-up punk rock band whose frontman has come forward as transgendered. While I'm all for people doing whatever it takes for them to be happy with the person they are, I have to wonder what this means for the band he has worked tirelessly to lead to success. What will become of Against Me!? Will Against Me! go forward as a band without Gabel/Laura Jane Grace? Will Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) continue to front the punk rock outfit and bring about attention to the struggles transgendered people face while still writing and performing truly amazing music? Only time will tell but Rolling Stone has an in-depth interview with Gabel so we'll all know shortly.

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