Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace Proves Punk Isn't Just for Boys
By Jay Schwartz
Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) is the singer/guitarist/songwriter and founding member of Against Me! (pictured above, Grace at right), a punk rock band exploring LGBT content for the first time. The band's new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues is set to come out next year and is a conceptual album about a transgender prostitute.
The musician's personal story dealing with gender will characterize the forthcoming album that bassist and fellow band member Andrew Seward told MTV Hive sounds, “really fucking tough”. Although a report that Grace's front teeth were recently shattered earlier this month at a live gig when group of fans stormed the stage and a microphone hit her teeth, there's no news if that will delay the album.
Against Me! was formed originally as a solo act by Gabel in Gainesville, Florida, back in 1997. The band has since then produced five studio albums, five EPs, and 12 music videos.
Though much older, its sound is reminiscent of punk popular The Gaslight Anthem and Anti-Flag. But while most of these rock bands that find their way nowhere but Alt Nation and the sales rack rejects of We Are Hunted, Against Me! will tackle issues facing the transgender community.
Trans-music, if that even can be considered a genre, has been making its rounds through the contemporary music scene. Experimental electronic Crystal Castles’ new album (III) features a song titled “Transgender.” The band’s third album was inspired by oppression in many forms.
Even outside of the music scene, transgender philosophy is constantly evolving.
This year's most high profile transgender person in the public eye is Lana Wachowski, who directed Cloud Atlas with her brother and Tom Tykwer and is best known as part of the creative duo behind the Matrix franchise.
One of the biggest steps will occur May 2013 when the DSM-V is published, finally changing the cruel diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” to the more acceptable “Gender Dysphoria.”
Tom Gabel’s transition to Laura Jane Grace is just one more way in which trans* culture is transitioning into today’s cisgender (non-trans) normative society and definitely a step in the right direction.
Watch a live performance during The Revival Tour at House of Rock in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 19, 2012 before Gabel announced her transition to Laura Jane Grace: