Transgender Dysphoria Blues: Tom Gabel and Against Me!

If there’s one band that I’ve consistently liked for a little while, it’s Against Me! After first falling in love with them with their release New Wave, I started looking at their older material. It was around this time that I saw them live and their newest album White Crosses was released. While it was different then their old material (in the fact that it didn’t sound like their lead singer Tom Gabel was trying to yell himself to death), it was still pretty good, just a little poppy.

All’s really been quiet on the Against Me! front (as far as I can tell) aside from a couple re-releases here and their, nothing really new has happened. That changed this week when Tom Gabel did an interview with Rolling Stone, and admitted that he had Transgender Dysphoria. Basically, he feels like he’s a woman trapped in a man’s body.

At first, I thought this felt a little out of left field. Since when has he felt this way?

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
One day, I’d find an honest man to make my husband

Oh. Well. That’s… okay, yeah, you got me. Gabel also performed a new song a couple months ago called Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Check that YouTube link out, it’s actually a pretty good song. Now, people have been known to be metaphorical in lyrics, but I doubt anybody knew how straight-forward he was being in this song.

Now, according to his Rolling Stone interview, Gabel plans on taking hormones, but is only just considering surgery. Whatever floats his/her boat.

Though nobody really expected Gabel to do this, it’s still a big step in the community, and I must admit, I’m proud of everyone. When “Tom Gabel” was a trending topic on Twitter, the responses I saw where overwhelming supportive. Lots of “good for him”s and “as long as it feels right for him”s were tossed around. I can honestly saw I saw no hate in what I consider a cesspool of human emotion.

Furthering his cause, Gabel’s wife is going to stay with him. Now that’s love if I’ve ever heard it. “Hey honey, I’m gonna become a woman!” “Sounds great, babe. I’ll love you no matter what.” And I really hope she’s not just saying that and sticks it out. Is it going to be a long road? Yes. But if it’s true love, she’ll be here every step of the way. Fingers crossed on that one.

And one more thing. If there’s one band I appreciate in the music business today, it’s the Gaslight Anthem. Jersey boys making amazing (in my opinion) music. And I think their lead singer Brian Fallon is one of the nicest-seeming guys in the business. After Gabel came out as transgender, Brian wrote a nice little blog publicly supporting him. If I couldn’t like the guy enough already…

Now, as for my opinion, I support him fully. I think it’s important to feel comfortable in one’s skin and it’s great that she’s taking a step towards it. I only offer my thoughts and prayers, because this is going to be a difficult time time for everyone involved. But at the end of it, hopefully Tom (or Laura, as she’ll be known now) will finally feel like she can belong in her own skin. I just wonder what’s going to become of Against Me!: will they still perform? Will the name change? Will they retire certain songs? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, all we can do is be supportive. Like we should.


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