On May 9 the lead singer of Against Me!, Tom Gabel, has announced that he is beginning the transition from male to female. He has already begun taking estrogen and underwent electrolysis to remove body hair so he could decide if he wants to have gender reassignment surgery.
Gabel has gender dysmorphia – a condition in which people feel they have been trapped in the wrong gender. When he came out with his plans, Gabel said that he was nervous about how the public would react.
“But that’s part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they’ll be fairly kind,” Gabel told Rolling Stone magazine.
His main concern when he decided to start treatment was how his wife would react. Gabel’s wife, Heather, has decided to stay married to him as a woman and continue to raise their 2-year-old daughter. Gabel is one of the few people to announce their plans to change their sex and gain support from his fans and family.
Soon after the announcement was made, the Gaslight Anthem posted support on their Tumblr blog applauding Gabel’s bravery for coming out in a public forum. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has also written a statement of support saying that they hope that Gabel’s story will serve as inspiration to help countless transgender youth who have no one they can relate to.
In 2008 Chaz Bono’s announcement of transitioning from female to male was met with disgust and apprehension from fans. Many did not know how to react when they found out that Cher’s daughter wanted to be Cher’s son. It even escalated to Chaz almost being kept out of “Dancing With the Stars” because, even though he identified as male, the general public wanted him to identify as female.
Even though LGBT acceptance is on the rise with groups pushing for the right to marry, the transgender community is still the least accepted even within the LGBT. Because of the judgment, many transgender people are hesitant to start their transition.
It is wonderful that Gabel felt comfortable enough to come out about his plans to Rolling Stone magazine. When Gabel begins his transition to be a woman, I am sure that she will be an inspiration to the transgender community all over.
Thankfully the only concern that fans have had about the situation is if Gabel will continue to sing in Against Me!, since it has a devoted following. Gabel has decided to continue singing with the group even after his transition is complete.