We all know that punk rock isn’t just for boys. Laura Jane Grace Gabel of Against Me! reminds us that it’s not just for cisgender folks, either.
The lead singer of Against Me! came out as transgender in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which hits newsstands on Friday. While some of the comments on Rolling Stone’s online article are predictably disgusting, commenters on the official Against Me! message board have been overwhelmingly supportive. After all, any diehard fan knows it’s the music that matters. And if transfolks are the ones making it, well, that should come as no surprise.
Rock stars who defy gender roles have always been at the forefront of music—the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Patti Smith, Boy George—the list goes on and on. Then we have bands with trans-identified singers like Jayne County and the Electric Chairs and the heavel metal group Life In Agony, whose lead singer, Mina Caputo, came out as transgender last year (and made this gorgeous music video).
But Gabel’s transition has made a bigger splash, perhaps because she made her big reveal Rolling Stone. According to Josh Ells, who wrote the piece, Gabel wanted her story to be a very public resource. “Instead of having people e-mail and call over and over, she could just say, ‘This article explains everything and after that we can talk,’” he said of the piece.
Gabel is already changing minds, most evidently in a punk community often dominated by machismo. As one person, who identities “as male pretty set, for now at least, in his heterosexual ways and have never questioned by sexuality or gender (yes, there is a difference)” wrote on Tumblr, “We the punk community, and the world at large, have been given a chance to be a positive movement in/for the LGBTQIA community.”