Transgender singer Tom Gabel is now performing as Laura Jane Grace.
By Gil Kaufman
Tom Gabel of Against Me!
Photo: Getty Images
The 40-minute set at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay in San Diego was the first stop in a month-long U.S. tour with the Cult and according to Rolling Stone, the show included six new songs.
Among the fresh tunes was the title track of the album the quartet is working on, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” In the RS interview, Gabel/Grace said she’s been dealing with gender dysphoria for years, struggling since childhood with discomfort in her male body. After detailing the upcoming steps she plans to take as part of the transition, Grace said she planned to live her life as a woman for a full year before thinking about gender-reassignment surgery.
At the San Diego show, Grace wore a loose-fitting black tank top, tight black jeans and black eye shadow. “I was worried that some people expected me to come out looking like Little Bo Peep or something,” Grace told the mag after the show while hanging out at the merch table with her wife, Heather. She said she’d be happy to discuss her transition with fans, but since most of the crowd were there for the Cult, the stage patter was kept to a minimum.
When the band played the 2007 song “The Ocean,” which includes the lines “If I could have chosen / I would have been born a woman,” fans sang along and broke into cheers and applause.
“She did it for herself, not for anybody else. This is about her,” said longtime fan Jimmy Gomez, 23. “She’s doing something she really loves now and she’s really happy — that’s really awesome.”
Grace is two weeks into hormone replacement therapy, which involves redistribution of her body’s muscle mass. And while she was worried about how it might affect her stamina, the band plowed through the show with no apparent issues. Among the new songs they performed were: “Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ,” “Dead Friend,” “True Trans Soul Rebel,” “Drinking with the Jocks” and “Black Me Out.”