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Wrabel's Transgender Fans Help Him Find His Voice in The Loudest Sound

Wrabel's Transgender Fans Help Him Find His Voice in The Loudest Sound

The musician and OUT100 honoree explains how one song changed everything.

In the age of streaming, the reach of music -- no matter the artist's chart presence -- can seem nearly boundless. As an artist's reach grows, a budding fanbase seeks as deep a connection as possible between them and the music that inspires and touches them. In The Loudest Sound, Stephen Wrabel, shares details of his coming out story and how meeting a pair of transgender fans who were simply themselves continues to inspire him.

Related | OUT100 2017: Wrabel, Singer-Songwriter

While spending time with Andy Hawkes and Mike Wegner during his first tour, they told Wrabel it can take years for an artist to be able to tell their story. "They were like, 'We want to help you tell your story now,'" Wrabel explained. "'Why wait until this happens, or this happens? Why not just tell part of your story now?'"

And tell he did. After Wrabel met a pair of transgender fans who inspired him with their openness, he wrote "The Village," an ode to the LGBTQ community and the feelings of isolation individuals can feel from their friends and family. "When I was middle school and high school age I couldn't even say the word gay out loud, I couldn't even whisper it to myself in my bedroom. When I met those kids it just really struck me how they were just themselves and comfortable and had this quiet, powerful confidence," he said. "It sounds cliche, but they changed my life."

For Wrabel, growing up in a religious family and environment didn't lend itself to an easy coming out. Though he's very open about it now, at one time his sexuality was met with "reparative therapy on the table, lots of prayer meetings and bible studies, and 'counseling sessions' with heavy quotation marks around that."

His advice to LGBTQ kids thinking about coming out in today's world is all about a feeling of security. "Take a few deep breaths. I think it's important to remember that it's your story to tell and I think it's important to feel safe and protected, and that means something different for each person. If you don't' feel like you have that with your immediate family then that doesn't have to be the first place you go."

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