Skip to main content

Scanning the news in transgender America lately, it has been impossible to avoid the story of punk artist Tom Gabel coming out...not that I know who Tom Gabel is.

Let's face it, I'm an old fogey now.  At 64 years of age, punk was never something on my radar.

Apparently Gabel is lead singer for a band called Against Me!.  The punctuation is apparently part of the name (which makes the punctuation at the end of the previous sentence questionable).

The following is an acoustic version of the band's song, The Ocean:

And if I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman
My mother once told me she would have named me Laura
I'd grow up to be strong and beautiful like her
Gabel has chosen to come out very publicly, in the new edition of Rolling Stone magazine, which came out today (May 11).  Gabel plans to begin living as a woman and will eventually take the name Laura Jane Grace.  She plans to begin hormone therapy and electrolysis soon.  

She also plans to remain married to her wife, Heather.  That would, of course, depend upon the state in which they live and whether they would try to intervene...and whether Heather still feels like that after going through transition with Laura.

Sometimes people change.

Later commentary:

Under established law, marriages are evaluated for their validity at the time of marriage, i.e., the date of the wedding/when the marriage license was signed.  Only divorces, death, and annulments end marriages — gender transition does not end a marriage, nor convert it to a same-sex marriage.  If two people were considered different sex at the time of their wedding, they will continue to be considered married until death, divorce, or annulment.

--Lisa Mottet, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news.  But she's been super-amazing and understanding.


There have not been a multitude of rock stars who have transitioned openly.  That played a large role in Gabel doing the interview.  Well, there was Glamazon with Christine Beatty and Shredmistress Rynata, but they retired when Christine was preparing for reassignment surgery in 2002.
I'm going to have embarrassing moments,  and that won't be fun.  But that's part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they'll be fairly kind.
CBS took the opportunity to try to explain gender dysphoria.  I'll let other people decide how successful they may have been.
It is important to note that the disorder is not just that a person simply wants to change gender, but includes depression and feelings that come with the helplessness that you were born into sex you weren't supposed to be, Dr. Philip Muskin, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and chief of consultation-liaison psychiatry at Columbia Psychiatry, pointed out. These individuals feel like there is nothing in the world that can help them be the sex they feel they should be, leading to emotional problems. This often leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide, he said.

Adolescence is usually a very difficult time in these individual's lives because of all the physical changes that occur seem counter-intuitive to how they actually feel about themselves. Rosario said often times people will try to stop the changes or hide who they are because they get beat up in school or get in trouble for letting their feelings be known.

The pathology isn't the sex or the gender question. It's the unhappiness these people feel.

--Dr. Philip Muskin, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and chief of consultation-liaison psychiatry at Columbia Psychiatry

But Gabel is not the only person transitioning with public notice.  The rest of the news is dotted with them.

Kelly Worrall, a producer for Electronic Arts, is transitioning and spoke with Cheryl Ross of the Vancouver Courier.

That time leading up to the actual transition was very important to me.  It was a time where I felt reassured because I could see the steps that HR was taking to build the environment where I would be protected, and that was my big concern.  Am I going to be laughed out of every meeting?  Is everyone going to be staring at me the whole time?  The answer to that [last question] is yes, by the way.  There’s nothing you can do about that.

--Kelly Worrall

American University's 21 year-old  Student Body president has finished a year in office and has celebrated by coming out and beginning to live as a woman.   Sarah McBride describes why :
I go to school in an environment that's accepting. The hardest part for me was coming to terms with it in relation to my ego, in my relation to my ambitions and my dreams.

I realized as fulfilling as it was professionally to work on issues of equality and fairness, it only underscored my own internal struggles more.

--Sarah McBride

McBride had her "coming out" letter published in the school newspaper, The Eagle.  It was also published in the Huffington Post.

Ariel (nee Andrew) Hawkins, 19, of Lincoln, CA isn't having such a good time of it.  She was hired and fired on the same day by Massage Envy when she disclosed her status to the manager.

Hawkins came out last year, via Facebook after graduating from high school.

The steps for that day were to make sure she physically says to my face that I have the job and gather evidence that I had the job.  My second checkpoint was some time in that career or timeline of having that job, because I already knew I had the job, the sooner the better but most likely sooner to get it (her transgender status) off my chest.

--Ariel Hawkins

She was replaced by another candidate for the job "with the company's best interest in mind".  She was told that should a position become available in the future, she was welcome to apply.

A classmate's mother brought the situation to the attention of the news media.  Laura Nielsen said it "maid me angry" about what happened between Hawkins and Massage Envy.

Hawkins own mother isn't so accepting.  Her mother requires her to apply for 2 to 3 jobs per day, with the threat of kicking her out of the house if she doesn't.

Then that forces me to be homeless or move in and be a mooch when I don’t want to or try and go to a homeless shelter.  I’ve been homeless twice and I have already lived at two or three different people’s houses.


Since she recently lost her medical insurance, she isn’t sure when she will make the surgical transition from male to female.  At present, she is not even on hormones.
Since I’m stuck in a male body, I still dress that way.  Sometimes I will dress up and go all out.


Originally posted to TransAction on Fri May 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site