Two very different sides of the American spectrum were on display today. In North Carolina, voters banned gay marriage by a margin of 61 to 39 percent because apparently it’s their job to decide how other people live their lives. Many parents probably went to the polls while their kids were at home listening to Lady Gaga’s album called Born This Way. Just over an hour ago, news broke that Against Me! front man and band leader Tom Gabel revealed to Rolling Stone he’s transgendered and will soon begin his transition into womanhood.
Gabel has always written songs that fall left of center, but his announcement is extreme even in the world of music. Judas Priest singer Rob Halford came out of the closet as a gay man in 1998 (to the surprise of no one who saw him perform in leather pants and brandishing whips), but this is the first time a major rock star has announced they’ll undergo a sex change.
Gabel will remain married to his wife and change his name to Laura Jane Grace in the future. As a long time fan of Against Me!, it’s hard to not root for the guy even more. Coming to terms with himself in a world where the band was criticized for something as minor as signing with a major label is the definition of a ballsy (sorry), punk rock move. My only problem will be if they don’t keep rocking as hard as they did on White Crosses, that album kicked some serious ace.
I for one am shocked and appalled he didn’t consult North Carolina voters before he made this decision. For now I’ll be spending the next few hours listening to Against Me!’s entire back catalog and re-examining every lyric.
The full Rolling Stone comes out on Friday, where he’ll go into what the sex change will mean for Against Me!