A fan's reaction to Tom Gabel, singer for Florida rockers Against Me!, becoming a woman
Very few news items surprise me.
I did take pause, though, this morning when I read that Against Me! front man Tom Gabel had come out as transgender.
A first for rock stars.
I met Gabel in the summer of 2008 backstage during a Warped Tour stop at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.
We had just done a lengthy phone interview for a pretty in-depth cover story that he read and liked.
Gabel grew up in Naples and told me about happily attending shows at Jannus Landing as a teen before relocating to Gainesville where he formed Against Me!
The punk rock hero stood in front of a weight bench set up outside his tour bus when I shook his hand.
He pressed a bunch of iron before eventually grabbing his guitar and going on stage to thrill the audience with a killer set that included the band's big hit "Thrash Unreal."
A manly man if I ever saw one.
That was my impression.
The 31-year-old told Rolling Stone recently that as a child he felt disconnected from his body and has a condition called gender dysphoria. He plans to take hormones and undergo electrolysis. He also is considering gender reassignment surgery.
"Growing up, my experience with transsexualism was nothing but shame," Gabel said.
The singer revealed that his new name will be Laura Jane Grace. Gabel said he's not attracted to men and will still be married to his wife. They have a 2-year-old daughter.
—Tom Gabel by MARK HUMPHREY, FILE — AP Photo
Against Me!'s Tom Gabel is becoming a woman