Tom Gabel

Well, here’s something I don’t think anyone saw coming. Tom Gabel is the frontman and founder of Against Me!, one of the best punk bands currently in existence. But he isn’t going to be Tom Gabel much longer. He’s currently planning to begin living as a woman, and he’s changing his name to Laura Jane Grace. This is apparently a real thing. More below.

Rolling Stone reports that Gabel is planning to start taking hormones and undergoing electrolysis soon. He says he’s been living with gender dysphoria for years and that he (she, I guess?) feels the need to talk openly about it, since no major rock figures have done this before. Gabel’s wife is apparently entirely cool with this: “For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news. But she’s been super-amazing and understanding.”

So: Good for her? I guess? My main takeaway from this, beyond the obvious surprise, is that I’m hoping Gabel’s hormone treatments won’t change her inimitable bleat of a voice.

Comments (197)
  1. So good for her, yes, no question. What the hell?

    • PS, anybody who ever heard “The Ocean” saw it coming.

    • After 20 minutes of reflection, I feel sort of bad that my tone in this post is more “WHUT?” than “YAY,” especially considering how much I like this person. But then again, “WHUT” is, I think, a perfectly understandable instant reaction.

      • Michael_  |   Posted on May 9th, 2012 +6

        The morning after this news breaking, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it as well, and I too kind of feel guilty for the “Huh?!” reaction. Listening to AM! for years upon years now and having seen them live a few times (last year’s tour with Screaming Females and Lemuria was perfect,) Tom Gabel was not someone who you’d look up on stage and kind get any sort of effeminate vibe from, so that’s where the shock comes from. The transgender topic has never been portrayed in such a realistic light for me, either — Whether it be some talk show where they show old pictures of the person from their childhood and you think, “Well, I guess I could have seen that coming,” or on Degrassi where it’s just acting. I’m super proud of Gabel, but part of me feels selfish for saying I’m going to miss “Tom Gabel.” This is probably the most surprising music news of all my lifetime, considering any death or controversy, and I’m at least happy it’s for a great, inspiring reason.

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        • Michael_  |   Posted on May 9th, 2012 +6

          Sure, it is, but let’s be perfectly realistic in the spectrum of human emotions. What if one day, you woke up and one of your parents or siblings or best friends or girlfriend / boyfriend / wife / husband said, “I’m changing genders and I no longer want to be called the same name.” That is a lot of change to get used to in one sitting. Saying I’ll miss “Tom” is selfish but it isn’t wrong. It’s natural, and I imagine it must be a very confusing time for some of Gabel’s friends and family despite their pledge to support. For example, speaking with female friends last night about this news, many of them tried to put themselves in Heather’s shoes, relate it to their relationships and they just couldn’t imagine how they would react. If you find it easy, kudos, but it sounds to me like you want everyone to just say, “No big deal, moving on…” when it’s just not that simple.

          • Obviously your feelings and opinion aren’t wrong. But, unless I’ve missed something, Laura isn’t your parent, sibling, best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, or husband. So taking it personally is perhaps misguided.

            You should be able to move on from this without it being a big deal. Because for you (and me, and probably everyone in this thread) it isn’t a big deal.

          • You’re getting awfully heated about something that isn’t a big deal

      • of course, you could have waited more than 20 minutes before posting something like this on such a sensitive issue. try to calm some of your own WHUT-ness and understand the story a little more before writing such an insensitive piece, right? i mean, i get it.. as a music blog, you want to get the news out there super fast, but if you’re going to cover a story like this, maybe a few deeps breaths would help in the future.

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    • Confusion is sex…no, wait, gender?

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  3. This is actually really cool. Good for her.

  4. No major rock figures? What about Genesis P-Orridge? Or does he not count?

    • Also Jayne County. But Gabel has actually been famous and stuff.

    • but that was more about transcending gender morays and becoming a fused gender, wasn’t it? As opposed to switching from one to the other? I could see where an author may choose to make that distinction in their write-up.

  5. “If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman
    My mother once told me she would have named me Laura
    I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her”

    - The Ocean, by Against Me!

  6. I am really impressed with your treatment of this story, Stereogum. Too often non-LGBT media struggles with how to present gender transition stories (pronouns in particular) and I think you’ve done really well here.

    • A lot of people have already said this, and tom has already expressed some regret so I apologize, but I feel the need to reiterate that the tone of this piece is decidedly UNimpressive.

  7. The tone of this short article sucks. You sound really condescending and disbelieving. “Apparently this is a real thing.” Yes, surprise, transgender people do exist. Good for her, period.

  8. Wasn’t expecting to read this today, but good for him/soon-to-be her.

  9. Good for her. No jokes, no clever comments, and no trolling. Just straight up good for her.

  10. I’m thinking back to the chorus of “Bamboo Bones”. Good for her.

  11. Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem had this to say

    “So Tom’s gonna be Laura now… and in 2012 I still find people on the internet commenting on another persons life how they insult and condemn a person for his choices. How about the people who go through this and never find peace and end up committing suicide? Would you rather that? Or maybe he could become a raging drug addict and ruin his life and family? Would you rather that? Or maybe we could have rules from a dictator where everyone gets killed for anything they believe against the government, oh wait that doesn’t work… How about you leave the guy alone. How about you let another human being make a decision about their lives without your snide prejudices and bigotry? This is one of the hardest decisions a person can make. From my limited understanding of the subject, it means feeling your whole life like you were born in the wrong skin. That’s something that 99% of us can’t understand. Weither you agree or don’t, it’s not your life. It’s not your family. it’s not your band, it’s theirs. I don’t see the AM! guys very often, or if at all, but I always wish them well. They’re a great band. Leave it at that. Just let them be a great band. To those being kind, this is not for you… If this is joke though, it’s in very bad taste to the people who actually go through this. But I will say that I still feel this way about anyone who makes a decision against what we call normal. You can’t hate them, and they have the right, here in America, to make their own choices and live their lives free of prejudice. So go live, Tom. XOXO Gossip Girl (photo copyright (c) 2012 Rolling Stone)”

    • He’s…..he’s not talking about us….right?

    • You can’t hate them, and they have the right, here in America, to make their own choices and live their lives free of prejudice.”

      Stay out of North Carolina…

      • AHHH STOP WITH THE NORTH CAROLINA! They’re the 31st state to ban gay marriage, so in a way, they should be applauded for taking so long. Seriously, even the bluest of states, California, has banned it.

        I’m not sure why I’m getting angry.

        • To be clear, I am not for banning gay marriage… my sentence structure needs some help this “morning”. I just don’t understand the strong hatred of NC when nearly every other state has done it regardless of the geography, political leanings, etc. I think what’s angering is America, not a particular state.

          • Not trolling here: because it’s fresh in everyone’s mind and not only did it ban same-sex marriages, but civil unions and domestic partnerships for those in same-sex partnerships AND heterosexual ones. The feeling is that NC voters were either mislead, misinformed, ill-informed, or just so staunch in their feelings about traditional marriage that they (potentially unknowingly) hurt themselves.

  12. “…since no major rock figures have done this before.”

    Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

    Well, I guess Throbbing Gristle isn’t a major rock group.

    Still.

  13. nothing but respect.

  14. “This is apparently a real thing” “Good for her? I guess?”

    I’m pretty disappointed by the tone of this article. I’m very appreciative of Mr/Mrs Gabel’s courage. Sometime in the future, this will be as prevalent as the current gay-rights issue and the historic women’s rights issue.

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    • this has gotta be quite the headfuck for ignorant assholes hahahahaha i’m mean sorry but wow, thank god i’m not you:)

  18. Reading this article after reading Pitchfork’s makes me realize what clowns write for this site. The tone of the article is rude and degrading and making fun of one’s choice to live their life the way they want to. If you are going to blog about music news, do so professionally or at least with respect. It’s already been mentioned but the comments “She, I guess” and “So: Good for her, I guess?” were completely unnecessary. Stereogum as a whole should be ashamed of themselves for publishing such a classless piece of so-called journalism.

    Now I know to read ‘serious-natured’ articles elsewhere.

  19. What is with the snarky, judgemental, bro-like tone of this report? This is an amazingly brave move by a singer in a very macho, male-oriented scene and industry, and its treated like some sort of WTF moment. Honestly, the only thing you take away from this is that you hope her voice doesn’t change? Please show some respect to this brave person. “She, I guess.” “So: Good her, I guess?” What do you mean “you guess?” I expected more from this website.

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    • One of the most offensive questions you can ask a transgender person is whether or not they’ve had “the surgery.” Surgery is not necessary to consider yourself your new gender. Therefore, there is no question that she is a “she” now and should be referred to as such.

      • A lot of readers are giving tom flak for the way that he worded the article but LJG herself has stated that people are going to be confused. This is pretty major for the transgender community, with it being a major rock star coming out transgender but I don’t think its necessary for certain individuals to attack other people for not knowing the sort of etiquette regarding the issue. I didn’t find the article very condescending, I found the attitude to be more shocked due to complex nature of the situation. It IS surprising. I think that its a very brave thing to do and that because of the publicity that it will get it will educate people on how to regard the situation.

        I happen to work with a transgender dude at a restaurant and he’s constantly being mistaken for female by the customers on the day-to-day basis. I asked him if it bothered him to be constantly mistaken for the wrong gender and he replied “They just don’t know any better so I can’t fault them for it.”

        Thank you Lara Jane Grace for writing amazing songs: Against me!’s first two eps and Reinventing Axl Rose got me through high school.

        • Sure, your coworker doesn’t fault them for it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt anyway.

          Also, no one is attacking Tom as far as I can tell. We’re just expressing the fact that we were offended by the tone of the post.

    • Hey Peter, I’m trans and I have not had surgery.

  21. could this be filed under where’s the beef? or have to wait til the op for that?

  22. Since when did readers of Stereogum become so PC and Self Righteous that it is inappropriate to acknowledge that it is shocking and unusual that the married (with a child) lead singer of a hardcore political punk band is going to have a sex change???

    Get off your holier-than-thou horses everyone, this is bizarre.

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      • EXTREMELY offensive? Really? I find it more along the lines of slightly ignorant, or glib if you want to get nasty. Most everything everyone has written here has in no way attacked transgendered people or the idea of wanting to become transgendered, in fact, most every comment has been supportive. If you’re so easily offended by what people might say, you probably shouldn’t be reading blogs.

        • I think the issue here is more with the “I guess” quip in the post (twice). Being happy for someone having the courage to come out as transgender, ESPECIALLY In the punk/hardcore/metal community is beyond an “i guess.” Why does being married with a child make this shocking or unusual? You have to realize that saying that translates to thinking LGBT people are not able to live normal lives.

        • As, presumably, the only trans person posting here, I will go ahead and say that it is extremely offensive. Being misgendered hurts like hell. Bizarre? It’s not bizarre; don’t make us sound like freaks. And don’t tell me that I SHOULDN’T be reading blogs.

        • Yes, extremely offensive. Especially this part:

          “So: Good for her? I guess? My main takeaway from this, beyond the obvious surprise, is that I’m hoping Gabel’s hormone treatments won’t change her inimitable bleat of a voice.”

          • Alright, you’re offended. The author of the post acknowledge that the wording of the piece was insensitive and already apologized for it (almost immediately after posting it). What exactly do you want?

  23. Anyone thinking about how this affects THEM should maybe not be so worried about it. You are probably the last person on Laura’s mind right now.

  24. “he (she, I guess?)”
    “he (she, I guess?)”
    “he (she, I guess?)”
    “he (she, I guess?)”
    “he (she, I guess?)”
    “he (she, I guess?)”

    you have to be kidding me
    p.s. the hormones won’t change her voice
    maybe the next time you post an article
    on a major music news website
    about something really important in / for the music community
    you should do a wikipedia search on what you are talking about
    that’s all it would have taken

  25. You can totally disagree with what someone does and still support them by listening to their music. You don’t need to be feeling guilty for being shocked by this. It doesn’t require some deep thought process on why what they’re doing is okay or not.

  26. If you’re one of those outraged because you feel this byte is condescending, or judgemental, or whatever, shut your face. You’re being overly sensitive. The fact that you all have to overcompensate by so vehemently attacking any statement that isn’t obviously pro-transgender – it doesn’t make you look enlightened. It just further highlights how unusual this is, and I think that’s the opposite of what you want.

    • I’m surprised at you!

      • Laura Palmer?

      • YES

        “I may be a woman but I still put my pants on one leg at a time, if y’know what I mean…”

        Whatever man. Everybody knows there’s nothing wrong with what Gabel is doing. There’s no reason to jump all over the writer’s nuts. I simply took the post as an expression of surprise and confusion. Who wouldn’t? It’s news that is both surprising and confusing.

        Y’all need to chill out. And that’s the double truth, Ruth.

        HOW AM I 6 DOWNVOTES AWAY FROM THE “BUTCHERED WINKIE” GUY!?? lol too close for comfort?

    • However “unusual” you think this is, gender dysphoria is a real thing. Big ups to Laura Jane Grace/Tom Gabel for having the courage to come out with this publicly given that Against Me are a popular band. I don’t know how you really hate on someone doing what is best for them to make themselves happy and comfortable in their own skin. For the people who are making insensitive comments, sorry it makes you uncomfortable, but it’s not about you.

      • Hey Janice,

        Thanks. I’m well aware of the realities and challenges of gender dysphoria. I have experience with both the proposed psychological and biological factors associated with being transgender. I have experience interacting with multiple individuals like Gabel and I have a wealth of sympathy for those like him.

        I think the word “unusual” is quite appropriate for this situation, simply because being transgender is uncommon. I think it’s a hell of a stretch to say I’ve been “hating” on anyone. I didn’t say in my post if I approved or disapproved because I shouldn’t have to, and he fact that I now have to blatantly state my support for Gabel illustrates how touchy and presumptuous people get. It’s unnecessary.

        I see a lot of people coming down on the author when I don’t necessarily think it’s warranted. I also see people getting on their high horses and/or making claims about things I’m pretty sure they have absolutely no clue about, and essentially NO practical working knowledge of.

        I’m in favor of those who came out, gave Gabel and his wife some props, and left it at that. I think it’s lame to castigate Tom the writer for being a little surprised and maybe a little ignorant AT WORST. You can’t really know how the guy feels from what he wrote. Sure I went ahead and assumed it was meant harmlessly, but if you assumed he was being slanderous you’re no closer to being correct just because you defended a transgender individual. His surprise is a perfectly reasonable reaction.

  27. It’d be even cooler it she was trans-species and becoming a lemur

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  29. Hey AgentCooper,

    There’s a difference between being outraged and being offended. The tone of the original post was offensive. Sorry.

  30. Good for Tom Gabel/Laura Jane Grace. I hope everything goes well and that AM’s fan base is supportive.

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  32. Huh. Interesting. I truly hope this brings him (soon to be her) happiness and peace.

  33. After the initial shock, I’m hit by two things:
    1) How difficult it must be to live with that reality for years and not feeling able to act on it;
    2) How awesome it must be for a young person going through the same thing to hear of Laura’s decision.

    Then I’m hit by one more thing:
    Does coming out as transgender in Rolling Stone make him a sellout?

  34. Jokes aside, this comment section is actually restoring my faith in humanity.

    I’m actually very surprised by the overall tone of the comment section. I’m really sorry for selling people short and being cynical but I was actually afraid to click on this article expecting to see a lot of hurtful things from the comment box. Seriously. Thank you for those who wish her well. I don’t have gender dysphoria but I do get a little sappy over someone getting accepted for who they are especially when I’m not expecting acceptance in any way.

    So. Thanks.

  35. What’s with the language, Stereogum? She came out as a trans woman. Use female pronouns, use her name. Don’t pull this “She, I guess?” bullshit. Quit making trans* people invisible. Yes, we are a real thing.

  36. I know I’m echoing what has already been stated, but: What a douchey article. I’m not one to preach sensitivity, but you come off as a huge asshole, tom (if you don’t feel your name is important enough to capitalize, I don’t, either). “She, I guess?” Yeah, just use “she”. It’s not that hard. “So: Good for her? I guess?” You sure do a lot of guessing for someone who is supposedly a writer for a living- if you don’t know something, maybe you could try not putting a statement in an article for the world to see. Yes, OF COURSE that’s good for her. It’s great that Laura (nee Tom) is comfortable with who she is/wants to be and is willing to share it with the public, a decision which I can’t imagine is simple, and the fact that Heather Gabel is so understanding is downright saintly; we should all be so lucky as to have such loving partners. You should- seriously- be ashamed of yourself, tom. Saying “I feel sort of bad” isn’t an apology or an admission of guilt, it’s just further proof that your brain is sometimes unable to think before your fingers have already typed.

    I can’t say I’ve known more than a couple of trans people in my life, but I would sure as hell treat them (and their loved ones) with considerably more respect than you apparently feel they deserve.

  37. Sorry, but I really do think this is pretty out there. Especially since the guy has a wife. I would have a million questions for him.

    Maybe in a few years my views will change, but I really don’t think blindly supporting everyone’s sex change is a good idea. It’s incredibly invasive, and I can’t imagine it’s good for you health-wise. I mean we all have internal issues we deal with and millions of people are depressed or unhappy for one reason or another. I would just have to think that at least SOME people who have a sex change would have been better off trying to talk to someone about how they were feeling rather than having this crazy procedure and taking a bunch of hormones.

    With that being said, I’m obviously not inside Tom’s head and I have no idea how he feels. Maybe this IS the best decision for him and I hope it makes him happier.

    • What you don’t understand is that it usually isn’t a snap decision followed immediately by gender reassignment surgery.

      • Are all decisions and reasons to have gender reassignment surgery exactly the same? If you read what I wrote I said that I would think some people would be better off without it. I have no reason to think that Tom hasn’t been considering this for years and that it isn’t the right decision for him, but a lot of people are kinda dumb and make rash decisions on all sorts of things.

        Do you really believe that no one has ever had gender reassignment surgery and regretted it or would have been better off looking into different means on addressing whatever issues they may have?

        • It sounds like you’re just against people making bad decisions. There are lots of generally good things that a person can do – like donating an organ or adopting a child – that can have negative consequences if done in a “dumb” and “rash” matter. Saying gender reassignment surgery as a whole is questionable because some people choose it unwisely is like saying that pizza is questionable because some people cook it poorly.

          PS: “’It’s incredibly invasive, and I can’t imagine it’s good for you health-wise.”?

          1) Surgery is invasive. Are you also against boob jobs, organ transplants, and brain surgery?

          2) You shouldn’t have to *imagine* if gender reassignment is healthy. You should either know, because this is something you know about, or you should keep your mouth shut.

          • Yes Matt, all surgeries are intrusive. However where organ transplants and brain surgeries are generally required in order to keep living, gender reassignment is a surgery that someone chooses to have in an attempt to resolve an identity issue that they have. Again, I have no clue how it feels to have gender identity issues but you can’t tell me that no one has had GNS and later regretted it.

            A boob job is actually a decent analogy, and women probably regret that all the time. When you say I’m against people making bad decisions, what’s so horrible about that?? Whether you make a decision to move, get a new job, or have your private parts surgically altered, if you later determine that you made a poor decision it’s going to suck and it may be impossible to go back.

            To respond to your point about whether or not it’s healthy you caught me, I’m no doctor. I do know that in general people don’t give both prescription and over the counter drugs the respect that they deserve. Just because a doctor tells you to take something doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous or doesn’t have side effects. IA lot of people don’t think about that. So while I don’t know what the specific health risks of hormone treatment are, I can’t think of any drug that doesn’ t have side effects. Plus it’s surgery, you just got through with telling me how all surgeries are invasive. You really don’t think it carries any risk?

          • Okay.

            Gender reassignment treatment (encompassing psychotherapy, surgery and hormone therapy) is both healthy (psychological treatment) and not *that* healthy (surgical interventions.) Lets only talk about males-to-females.

            First with regards to surgical treatments:
            ANY surgery has risks, even the most minor ones. You can think of surgery as “bad” for you, but it’s a cost-benefit thing. Routine complications include sepsis, both at the surgical site and in the respiratory system (the patient will likely be intubated.) Sepsis can be fatal. Nerve damage can easily occur – this can include loss of sensation across small or large areas and loss of bodily functions like continence, among other things. There’s risk of venous thromboembolism – clots than can cause heart attack, stroke, etc. The Journal of Sexual Medicine (Belgium) finds that “Surgical satisfaction was high, despite a relatively high complication rate” 8 years after gender reassignment surgery among 49 transsexual men. Keep in mind that successful surgeries often achieve functional results and yield very happy patients.

            With regards to CSHT (Cross-Sex Hormone Therapy):
            Males-to-Females will receive Estrogen and a GnRH analogue (sort of a double-whammy to reduce the biological action of male androgens.) In the past one of the therapeutic hormones was linked with venous thrombosis and cardiovascular problems but treatment has shifted to a safer alternative. Again via Journal of Sexual Medicine – survery of 169 individuals: CSHT alters the serum lipid profile of male-to-female transsexuals in a manner that is “significant” via raising blood triglycerides, total cholesterol and HDL, although female-to-male patients showed higher incidence of atheroma formation (arterial plaques essentially: think cardiovascular disease, heart attack.) Data on this has been called “inconclusive” by other journals. There is evidence that CSHT leads to meningioma formation (usually benign tumors of the brain meninges.) Multiple studies have shown that the risk of developing osteoporosis using long-term CSHT is low, as long as the patient sticks to the prescribed hormone regimen.

            So quickly: Any surgery is not good for you. Hormone therapies pretty benign from what I’ve seen. Normally I’d say “drugs r bad” because they’re chemicals, and they need to be carefully considered, but administering hormones is different from administering pharmaceuticals.

            Without digging through lots of information, and in the interest of being as brief as possible, psychotherapy is going to be incredibly beneficial to these patients.

    • “crazy procedure”
      I began seriously questioning my gender about three years ago. I’ve been seeing a therapist once a week since then and have spent a majority of that time talking about my gender presentation/identity. Only in the last month have I decided that I wish to begin hormone treatments. It took A LOT of thought and it takes A LOT of courage. Some people are happy being genderqueer or trans* without hormones or surgery, and that’s great, but for some of us, that isn’t the case.
      And “especially since the guy has a wife”. So what? Are you implying that she can’t be supportive of the PERSON she loves? I have a partner, and I informed my partner of my transition months into our relationship. And she’s still by my side.

      • “crazy procedure” was lazy on my part

      • And c’mon Sea, how can you not think that the fact that a man who is getting GRS has a wife is an interesting wrinkle? I never implied that she can’t be supportive, I said I would have a million questions. Has Tom ever been attracted to men? What was their sex life like before the surgery? What is it going to be like after the surgery? And before you tell me how it’s none of my business and how they don’t owe me any answers, of course they don’t! But I think it is totally natural to have those questions, I think some people are just scared to be honest about it or it makes them feel uncomfortable.

        • Michael_  |   Posted on May 9th, 2012 +7

          Taking into account Stereogum Tom’s post (which I think people should cut him some slack on considering that he can relate to the family aspect of the situation being around the same age as Gabel with a wife and young child,) my reactions at the start and those like yours here, I think it’s perfectly possible to question something while supporting someone’s decision, so I give you a pat on the back for just being honest. I don’t think it means you are a bad person or that you are against someone else’s wish to be happy. It just makes you a curious person who wants to know more about a topic that very, very, very few of us have had to confront. You can’t educate yourself unless you ask questions, right? And isn’t being honest with yourself what this whole story is about anyway?

          • Thanks Michael, kinda wish the fact that I can have the opinion that evasive surgery and hormone treatment might only be the best thing for some and not all people with identity issues and not be some sort of hate monger could go without saying. I’m glad someone like Sea Lawrence can share his positive experience but I wish he could be more concious that that isn’t necesarrily everybody’s experience.

            Maybe if asking these questions wasn’t so taboo and people were allowed to constructively vocalize their throughts a little more transgender people would be more widely accepted.

          • No one is saying “You can’t ask these questions!” Ask away. But every single one of these comments is the opinion of the person writing it, and as much as anyone has a right to question, anyone else has a right to answer. It’s internet discourse – something you all seem really god at, so let’s all just fucking chill and roll with the punches and have a heated conversation and we’ll all be better for it in the end.

          • I guess I felt like Sea twisted my words a little, not sure how I implied that the wife of someone who has gender realignment surgery can’t be supportive of them.

            For the record I love the fact that people are questioning me, I was really happy that Sea called me out for calling it a crazy procedure, and just in general I love this shit. My work day is flying by thanks to y’all. ; )

          • She (Shea) has been twisting words this entire thread.

  38. I think the most offensive thing Tom said in the article was that Against Me! was “one of the best punk bands currently in existence”

  39. My 2 cents. To everyone backlashing against the backlash here, no one is saying you can’t have a reaction as a fan or a reader, etc. No one is saying there isn’t any surprise or that “Wow, OK” moment when someone comes out as transgender. It’s big news. The issue is more what follows that, and I agree that the double “I guess” comments above (while it’s not ignorant/negative/hateful) are not the best.

    • I think the reaction here is misguided. In our rush to chide Tom for his language we also forget that not everyone has been exposed to situations like this in their life. A transgender individual is extremely rare in society, be it because of the small number or the fear they face in being who they truly are. The most common reaction to this is going to be confusion because most people don’t understand how to deal with a situation like this. The closest frame of reference most people will have for this is a friend/family member coming out as gay, which isn’t even close to the same thing. Tom’s is a common reaction. That doesn’t make it right, but attacking him doesn’t help.

      Instead of attacking Tom and Stereogum wouldn’t it make more sense to explain the situation to other readers and direct them towards organizations that can help educate them on transgender issues? We understand. You’re outraged. But anger doesn’t solve problems, it only exacerbates them.

      • As I have said before, I am not outraged. I was offended by the tone of Tom’s post. I do not see anyone attacking Tom. I do, however, see people trying to explain to him why his post was offensive. He posted a half-assed apology rather early in this discussion. I hope he’s been reading the comments posted since then.

      • The difference is, Tom’s post is read by thousands of people because he writes for a well visited music website. His tone should have been different despite whatever his personal feelings about the situation. It’s his job to report news, not pass judgement.

        • Technically, it is not Tom’s job to “report news” since he’s not a news reporter. I’m not defending the tone (well, I think Tom’s free to have any tone he likes just as you’re free to read or stop reading this blog), but let’s all just back up a second and remember this is an indie music blog and not, in fact, a newspaper.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • Technically, it is not Tom’s job to “report news” since he’s not a news reporter. I’m not defending the tone (well, I think Tom’s free to have any tone he likes just as you’re free to read or stop reading this blog), but let’s all just back up a second and remember this is an indie music blog and not, in fact, a newspaper.

      • I am the opposite of outraged. Not sure why this reply was directed at me, but I definitely don’t feel outrage over the post. I explained very clearly that it is not the best reaction, but it is not hateful and of course it depends on exposure to these types of situations. We’re on the same page.

        • Sorry, it wasn’t meant as a reply to you. I don’t know why it ended up as a reply to your comment. It was a general comment on the reaction here. People were in attack mode. Tom had been called both a bro and a douche, which I felt was counterproductive to the overall point people were making about keeping an open mind.

  40. here’s how this thread should be going:

    SG commenters: “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”

    Sea Lawrence: I am a trans person.

    Everyone else: Clearly, I am not the authority here! Sea Lawrence, as a person who’s lived through this and who, unlike most of us, actually knows a thing or two about it, please share your thoughts. We’ll shut the fuck up for a second.

  41. Actually it won’t change her voice because estragen doesn’t change a male-bodied person’s voice to feminine at all. Testosterone can only change a female-bodied person’s voice. The only way her voice would change is if she went to voice classes to alter her voice herself.

  42. Reinventing Tom Gabel.

  43. The first “I guess” is in reference to the pronoun usage. The second “I guess” is in reference to the wife.

    I’m not opposed to you downvoters jumping on the “good for her” wagon. I’m on the “I don’t give a fuck because it’s none of my business but thanks to Tom for reporting the news” wagon. You all should try that wagon out. Just how is it going to help matters because you approve of something? Just how is it going to help matters by downvoting the shit out of someone who doesn’t agree with you? (not opposed to downvoting bad jokes, but I wouldn’t)

    The people here can be downright reactionary. Philosophically, this just makes you a shittier version of the “insensitive” people that you are attempting to correct. It’s fucks like many of you that make liberal ideology seem ridiculous, thereby harming the remainder of us who actually take an original perspective.

    So, no, not “good for her”. You don’t know the guy. Just because you happen to be a fan of the band doesn’t give you personal inroads into the band member’s lives. How about “Good luck!”? But most of all, fuck you for judging people for judging people (yeah, you read that correctly).

  44. I mean, I’m shocked that Tom didn’t come back to correct you knucklefucks on your illiterate reading of the article.

    Fucking downvoters. You’re worse than rubj and underscore (when he hasn’t had enough sleep) combined.

    • Wait. So you’re so pissed off about downvotes that you post twice about it yet you’re attacking those of us who called out the insensitivity in Tom’s original post?

      At least you got your priorities straight!

      • Also, make up your mind. I need to know if I’m allowed to say “good for her” or not. Your views on this confuse me.

        • Also, you misread the fucking article to begin with, so don’t even begin with some snarky shit about what you’re “allowed to do”. I am not opposed to downvoters jumping on the “let’s make it all about me” wagon.

          However, the appropriate response that demonstrates both tolerance and understanding is not “your decision is okay with me.” No one needs your fucking approval. If you want to take the “we get to be the moral compass for the universe” stance, then you should probably not engage in the same behaviors that you condemn others for.

          Therefore, I’m not pissed about you pointing out nonexistent insensitivity. I’m pissed about a bunch of seemingly illiterate assholes behaving just like the reactionary assholes that they are criticizing.

          • I’d like you to point out where I made this “all about me.”

            Incidentally, my main issue with Tom’s post is that it is quite clearly all about him. Especially the last sentence.

            You have the reading deficiency, dude.

          • “no one is attacking Tom as far as I can tell. We’re just expressing the fact that we were offended by the tone of the post.”
            -choikle

            Right there where you mentioned that you (and some nebulous group of indignant posters) were offended by the post. That was the spot to which I was referring.

            I’m not a Tom apologist. However, Tom is writing from an editorial perspective. I believe that he was expressing an opinion along the lines of “Well, this certainly is unexpected and surprising news, but as a fan of the band, I hope that the music maintains its character.”

            I do have a reading deficiency. It’s called dyslexia. For this reason, I tend to try to read things carefully and with consideration before I take a reactionary stance. This is a blogpost. Anyone who is offended by what he reads on the internet is simply looking for reasons to be offended. You know what should come across as offensive? Advertisements. Other than that, if you are empowering any part of the media by reacting emotionally to it, then you have crossed an important boundary.

  45. I personally think that trans-gendered individuals are underrepresented as far as support from people that would normally say they are in support of LGBT persons. The T in that acronym should be equally accepted as the LG & B. Maybe it stems from a lack of education on the matter, but I have a close personal friend who is transitioning from male to female, and it’s really remarkable the amount of distasteful reactions from people out there that claim to be supportive. I just hope one day this kind of article will be as arbitrary as “Tom Gabel Changes Bleaches His Hair.” Who cares?

  46. She’s pretty.

  47. Why are people so up in arms about tom’s use of “her? I guess” First of all, it is still a normal thing for people to not know how to react to these things. I believe that’s part of Tom Gabriel’s concern/point with doing this so publicly. Second, he is still Tom Gabriel. He’s not Laura Jane Grace yet. So like, relax a bit people.

    Also, it’s been really cool to see that a majority of the responses posted here are still positive and supportive.

  48. I gotta be careful with my wording here because I mean no disrespect to the LGBT community, but this is legitamately shocking news, even if you are a fan. I’m actually more offended by the onslaught of rude comments against those who express their own opinions of confusion with this story than I am of the actual story or those against it. Obviously he has the right, and obviously he’s not a bad person, but it is still legitimately shocking. Again, no disrespect, as I have transgender friends myself, but where were all you people when Michael Jackson was being attacked for obviously wanting to have lighter skin? (maybe some of you are too young for that, many of you are probably just following the trends of society so it doesn’t matter). But nobody was defending him saying “He’s just a white man born in a black man’s body, leave him alone!” And yes, he had a condition that he was counteracting, but how many people knew or cared? He was torn apart in media for decades because of it. Now, maybe his situation would’ve been treated different these days, but I tend to doubt it. If Tom has been struggling with this for years and has now decided to take action for it, more power to him (and no, I don’t see a problem calling Tom “him” until he is officially Laura). I have nothing against his choice. But give people a break, you can’t expect everyone to just gloss over when such news (about anyone!) is presented. It doesn’t seem to matter if people are confused of a gender change, or are confused at Radiohead’s newest release, seems a hipster always has room to bitch.

    • Micheal Jackson had Vitiligo, which is a skin disease which causes depigmentation. Vitiligo, by the way, is not curable. He didn’t “want to be white” anymore than Micheal J Fox wants Parkinson’s. You’re incredibly stupid for bring this up here, let alone trying to parallel the two. And you’re probably racist for believing this tripe as well. You’re an idiot.

      • Vitiligo doesn’t cover the entire body, that was all Michael’s doing. And if you knew much about his history you’d have seen the stories of personal accounts that suggested he indeed wanted to be completely white, even if it was to hide the fact that he had depigmentation in areas. In any case, that’s beside the point. You’ve also proven my main point by assuming I’m a racist (for whatever reason) and attacking me on that assumption.
        All I’m saying is, despite the fact MJ had his legitimate reasons it was still strange and a shock to people. But can you blame people for thinking so? Most people looked right passed his reasons and attacked him for it, which was taking it too far, yet who was there to defend him? Now, I’ll give it to you that I might be stretching with trying find a parallel there. But I don’t see how that makes me a racist. I just think people need to lighten up, it is an uncommon and strange thing that is going on with Tom. That’s not to say he doesn’t have the right, or that he has made a bad choice, or that he is a bad person for doing so. It simply is what it is. You can’t fault people for being surprised and a little shocked.

        • Ugh. Well, first of all Vitiligo can cover the entire body. Secondly, your MJ revisionist history about him “wanting to be white” is what’s racist. Third, you win. But not because you are right, but because i feel incredibly stupid for even engaging in it in the first place and wish to back out while i still have some respect for myself.

          • Very rarely does it cover the whole body, and Michael’s didn’t. There was proof of that. I still don’t get why that makes me racist.
            But you are right, we should stop, because you do sound stupid.

          • If I’m a racist, then the majority of people on this thread must be sexist.

  49. I mean, seriously, I find tom’s insistence on posting shit k-pop videos on a regular basis MUCH more insulting than anything he wrote in this article.

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