Fascinating Cosmo Article by Tom Gabel of Against Me!, Now Known as Laura Jane Grace

If you’ve been following this saga, you’ll know that Against Me! singer Tom Gabel made the difficult and courageous choice to be true to who he actually is.  The title of this Cosmopolitan article says it all:  “My First Year As a Woman.” (Thanks to John for the link.)

At age 5, Tommy Gabel happened to catch a Madonna concert on TV. That’s me! he thought to himself, entranced. That’s who I’ll be when I grow up. Lots of little girls want to become Madonna—the problem was, Tommy felt like he was a girl even though he had a boy’s body. Seeing Mia Farrow with her Rosemary’s Baby–era pixie cut, which looked like his own boy haircut, inspired him: “She was my hero.”

Soon, Tommy started nosing around his mom’s closet. He would build forts out of pillows and sneak in a pair of his mom’s nylons. In middle school, he started shoplifting girls’ clothes. “Putting them on made me feel calmer, more like myself. It was a stress relief,” says Tommy—now Laura.

Growing up in Florida in the pre-internet ’80s and ’90s, Tommy had no examples of people experiencing what he was. “We had Silence of the Lambs and Ace Ventura. Society doesn’t portray transsexual people in a very positive light. Every example I saw—mostly transvestites, and I didn’t know the difference—reinforced the shame I felt.” (One is a term for some one who likes to cross-dress. The other is a complicated reality for more than 700,000 people in America.)

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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