THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — [UPDATE - Laura Jane Grace debuts! See below.]
Punk rocker Tommy Gabel’s transiting announcement may be new and sudden to many people, but the path Gabel has taken to reach this point is familiar to tens of thousands of others who have plodded along the same difficult, heartbreaking and sometimes torturous, trail.
Gabel, in describing the feeling of disconnect between mind and body: “. . . it’s shitty, man. It’s really fucking shitty.” Then there’s the confusion about the decision, to which Gabel says ‘I may not know what the fuck I’m doing’, but Galen ends the statement with: “But there’s another part of me that’s completely, 100 percent sure.”
You’ll find a lot of trans people are nodding their heads in agreement with Gabel on that entire paragraph and more: terrified of rejection from a significant other, feelings of shame while growing up, praying for a different body, and being disgusted at the body seen in a mirror.
Before the internet, many learned about being transgender in movies — including Gabel: “the sad tranny and the fucking scary tranny” referring to the films The Crying Game and Silence of the Lambs. To cope, Galen would crossdress, followed by purging and firm decisions to live as a man, only to slide right back into the female side.
For some trans people, the moment of truth comes when their transgender side seeps into their art (writings, music, films, etc.,) then eventually it becomes the only thing they do with it. When this happens, it’s out of their hands — the transition decision is made for them. This is exactly what happened with Tommy Gabel not long before the public announcement in the media.
Laura Jane Grace is the name Gabel is thinking of using somewhere along the way, soon. For now, it’s Tommy. The road through surgery lies ahead, but Gabel seems more worried about Dad — who doesn’t know yet, and Gabel is afraid the decision to transition will end their relationship.
Notes: 1) Galen has yet to present as female (according to Rolling Stone). “Tommy” is the preferred name at this point. 2) I’ve researched several sources for this article, but likely the most factually accurate (and a great read) seems to be from The Rolling Stone — this is where I got the quotes. It’s not online yet, but it may be in the near future: http://www.rollingstone.com
UPDATE – May 27, 2012 - “Against Me! singer-guitarist Tommy Gabel made her live debut as Laura Jane Grace on Friday, performing with the band under her new name for the first time since coming out as transgender.”
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