Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace has opened up about her gender reassignment.
The singer, formerly Tom Gabel, announced in May that she would be undergoing the transition from man to woman in May and is currently taking hormones and undergoing electrolysis treatments.
In an interview with The Guardian, she says that living the life of an angry, male in a punk band left her frustrated. “When you’re in a punk band you’re framed as an angry white male. That’s you: angry; white; male. And you’re screaming at the top of your lungs, and you’re angry about this and that,” she said. “But you become a parody in some ways, and the more and more I saw that, the more and more frustrated I felt.”
Grace said that although she used to cross-dress in secret, she resolved not to do it anymore after her band signed a record deal with Warner Bros. “You pile everything up into a trash bag, and go behind a store and chuck everything into a dumpster. You just get rid of everything, and you’re like: ‘That’s it.’ Because you feel like you’re a deviant, and there is this danger of being caught, and you’re terrified.”
Grace, who is married with a young daughter, also said that becoming a parent encouraged her to make the decision to be honest about being transgender. “You’re thinking, ‘I’m going to be a father, and I’m going to have a daughter,’ and you can’t help but examine that as you get older – just having less patience with all the bullshit. Just thinking about the role model that you’re going to be for your child, and what’s the most important lesson you can teach them? Wanting to be honest was an example that I wanted to set.”
Speaking about the band’s fan’s reaction to her decision, she said: “[The fans] were pretty high on the pecking order, just because there’s the very real worry of: ‘What if someone attacks me? What if I’m on stage and someone tries to do something to publicly humiliate me?’ There’s that total fear, because I’ve been hit in the face with bottles in the past. So there’s that fear, for sure.”
In May, Grace played her first gig as a woman in San Diego, where she debuted the band’s new track ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’.