Fair warning: today’s post has nothing to do with comics. But chances are, if you read this blog, you like Against Me! or have at least heard a couple of their songs.
In Friday’s issue of Rolling Stone, Against Me!’s lead singer Tom Gabel comes out as transgender and explains how she has dealt with gender dysphoria for years and her plans to undergo a full gender transformation, beginning with hormone treatments and electrolysis. Eventually, she plans to change her name to Laura James Grace.
Many people (like Punknews.org trolls) may not agree, this is nothing but awesome news. Why? Well…
Those lyrics from “The Ocean” make a heck of a lot more sense
Remember the part where Gabel says “If I could have chosen / I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me / She would have named me Laura” and then expounds upon the life he would lead? Well, now you know what that’s all about.
Tell you the truth, based on these lyrics, more of us should have seen this announcement coming.
Anyway, it’s a hell of a song. The live version (because that is when Gabel and her bandmates are at their finest) is at the bottom of this post.
That voice is going to be unlike anything ever heard by human ears
Remember the first time you heard Tom Gabel’s voice exploding from your speakers? Remember how it sounded like an angry puma (like the one on the cover of New Wave) had the child of an otherwordly being? Remember telling your friends how you’ve never heard anything like it before? Damn right you do.
Now, imagine what that voice is going to sound like when it gets a little more feminine. Again, like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if Against Me! started sounding a little more like early Dio.
Gabel’s songwriting will be better than ever before
Art imitates life. As such, artists like Gabel draw from their life experiences when creating their works. Gabel coming out first to her family then to others close to her then finally her public will all be experiences rich for mining. It will speak to an entirely new audience that maybe Against Me! didn’t reach before (or at least didn’t speak directly to).
Not only will the content be plentiful, but it will likely be more honest than ever before. Not that Gabel wasn’t honest before, but finally coming out after years of struggling with gender identity must be a giant weight off Gabel’s shoulders. But for the first time ever, Gabel’s fans may get a singer holding absolutely nothing back.
Maybe this will help break down barriers in the punk scene and the larger rock scene
Despite what you may tell yourself, sexism is still very much alive in the punk and rock scene, along with every other “-ism” you think doesn’t exist because you don’t actively practise it. They are still there, bringing the scene down one bigoted slur at a time. Hopefully, Gabel’s revelation will cause people to rethink their unfounded prejudices.
It’s a long shot, but one can hope.
Anyway, you can show your support to Gabel by sending her a Tweet or just throwing on an Against Me! album and jumping around your living room like you’re in the middle of a crowded club. Or just watch an acoustic version of “The Ocean” below.