By Scott T. Sterling
In May of 2012, Tom Gabel, lead singer of punk band Against Me!, shocked the music world by announcing that he was transgender and had started the process of becoming a woman, taking the name Laura Jane Grace.
One year later, and Grace has now opened up to woman’s magazine Cosmopolitan for a first-person account of the experience aptly titled, “My First Year as a Woman.”
What follows is a revealing and intimate profile, opening with the story of how Gabel first saw Madonna on TV at age 5 and wanted to be just like her when he grew up, even though he was a boy.
“I was always attracted to women. It was never a sexuality issue,” Grace said of her high school experience as a guy. “I just knew that if I could make a wish to change into a woman myself, I would have made it 100 times every day. It became so stressful that I’d reach these points where I’d throw all my women’s clothes in a dumpster and swear, ‘Never again will I do this!'”
The piece goes on to detail how the singer first came out to wife Heather, hormone therapy and the difficulty of explaining it all to toddler-aged daughter, Evelyn, who still refers to her as “daddy.” Grace even details her first experience wearing a skirt in public, and how empowering it was.
The singer expresses gratitude to Against Me! fans who “stuck by my band and how many came up to offer their support afterward.
“I met trans men and women from all walks of life, all at various points in their journeys,” she added. “Many said I was an inspiration to them, but they are an inspiration to me.”
There is also a Q&A with Grace’s wife, who speaks openly about standing by the singer through the transition.
“In my mind, I married a person with whom I fell deeply in love,” she explained. “Laura’s coming out has made me realize, in regard to my own sexuality and ideas about gender, that it’s all more fluid than how society presents it. I’d always thought I was just straight. But now I know that really the right girl hadn’t come along yet.”