Against Me! lead singer Tom Gabel shocked punk rock fans Tuesday when the singer announced plans to begin the process of living as a woman named Laura Jane Grace.
According to Rolling Stone, the 31-year-old, who has dealt privately with gender dysphoria for years, is considering gender reassignment surgery.
She says she's not attracted to men and will continue her marriage to wife Heather Gabel. They have a 2-year-old daughter.
"For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news," Gabel told Rolling Stone of Heather. "But she's been super-amazing and understanding."
The irony of being the first high-profile rock star to come out isn’t lost on Gabel, who only told a handful of family and friends about her plan to transition before talking to Rolling Stone.
"I'm going to have embarrassing moments," says Gabel, "and that won't be fun. But that's part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they'll be fairly kind."
The 31-year-old tells Rolling Stone that as a kid she felt disconnected from her body.
"Growing up, my experience with transsexualism was nothing but shame." Gabel says.
She also will undergo electrolysis treatments and take hormones to make the transition from male to female.
While Gabel announced to Rolling Stone on Tuesday that she planned to begin living as a woman, it appears the announcement was much earlier, foreshadowed on an album.
According to Billboard Magazine, on "The Ocean," the closing track on Against Me!'s 2007 major label debut "New Wave," Gabel sings, "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."
And in an interview with Metromix Gabel was asked:
In the album closer, “The Ocean,” you talk about your desire to have been born a woman and settle down near the beach with a family. That’s a pretty radical declaration—what prompted that?
The second verse, the one you mention…well, I was raised by females. My family divorced, so I was also just around the women in my family. I remember we’d all go to the beach when I was young, have picnics, then at night, I’d sit out on the balcony and have a fan blowing on me. It was so my favorite childhood memory. I was trying to communicate that, and hopefully someday my children, if I have them, can have the same sort of memory.
Against Me! is best known for the song "Thrash Unreal." The group will hit the road for its tour with The Cult later this month.
To be fair, Gabel is not the first musician to come out as transgender, MTV reports. In the 1970s, electronic artist Walter Carlos announced that she, too, suffered from gender dysphoria and underwent sexual reassignment surgery to live life as Wendy Carlos. And just last year, Life of Agony singer Keith Caputo made headlines when she became the first high profile heavy metal musician to come out Mina Caputo.
“I couldn’t hold her down anymore. I became really, very eccentric,” Caputo told the Advocate. That led to a turbulent 2008 and a series of failed relationships with women who didn’t want a male-bodied partner who wanted mani-pedis and Brazilian waxes. Until she met her current girlfriend, Caputo says women expected her to be Keith Caputo, the rock star.
“Maybe I was some sort of status thing to them and they felt really safe… hey were with this beautiful boy and he’s famous and he writes beautiful music and he’s generous. There were a couple of girls that understood but my feminine feelings weren’t genuine [to them]… to most it was just like maybe a bed thing, a sexual fantasy kind of thing in their own mind.”
The June issue of Rolling Stone hits newsstands Friday.