Against Me! Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace Chronicles Her First Year as a Woman
In May 2012, Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel became frontwoman Laura Jane Grace. The musician publicly came out as transgender, revealing that she had identified as a woman since childhood. After nearly a year of living openly as a female, Grace has written a fascinating and detailed piece of writing documenting her experience since the change.
"If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura," the musician sings in the 2007 Against Me! track 'The Ocean.' Six years later, Laura is now the Against Me! singer / guitarist's name. At the age of five, the musician formerly known as Tom Gabel was entranced by a televised Madonna concert and for the first time felt like a girl trapped in a boy's body. Gabel would later sneak into a pair of his mother's nylon stockings and began shoplifting girls' clothes. "Putting them on made me feel calmer, more like myself. It was a stress relief," Grace writes in her piece for Cosmopolitan.
At eight-years-old, Gabel was inspired by punk rock and began to learn the guitar. Music gave the young male must-needed comfort as a student in high school, as Gabel's classmates would beat him up and call him a "f--got." Gabel dropped out of high school to begin touring with Against Me!, finding great success in his musical endeavors. He later fell in love with Heather Hannoura, who he later married and had his first child with. However, Gabel found himself in a tailspin of alcohol and drug abuse after a negative experience with a major record label and the stress of his wife's pregnancy. "I was numb. I couldn't write; I couldn't function. The feelings were totally consuming. I couldn't live the lie anymore," said the singer. So at 31, Tom Gabel officially became Laura Jane Grace.
"I buried my head into her chest and explained that this was something I'd been struggling with all my life," Grace writes about finally talking about transsexuality with her wife. "I wasn't sure how Heather would take it. She said something like, 'That's all you were going to tell me?' She told me at that moment -- and kept telling me -- that she wasn't going anywhere. The day after I told Heather, I shared the news with my band -- they were stunned but really supportive."
Grace continues the Cosmo piece by detailing her experiences in therapy, taking hormones and how the decision impacted the couple's then-three-year-old daughter. "I could tell she was a little confused the first time she saw me presenting as a female," Grace writes. "One night, a couple of weeks into transitioning, as I was putting her to bed, she said she didn't want me to be a girl anymore -- she wanted me to be a boy again. I had never felt more self-doubt in my decision than at that moment … Evelyn still calls me Daddy, and she can for as long as she wants."
An interview with Grace's wife, Heather, concludes the article. "It broke my heart to know she'd been going through this on her own for so long," Heather reveals. "I wasn't mad, because I can't fathom how hard it was for her to tell me after having been married for six years. I know other couples split up over this, but I never considered leaving."
Check out the entire fascinating article in Cosmopolitan.