It’s hard to believe that it has been about a year since mxdwn first heard of Tom Gabel’s decision to become Laura Jane Grace. Grace recently sat down with Cosmo to recap her first year as a woman.
One of about 700,000 people in the U.S. Grace is a transsexual who has undergone the process to be a woman. When Grace spoke with Cosmo about her transformation, she also described her feelings as a child. Just putting on womens clothes made the young Tom Gabel feel at home in his body.
Putting [those clothes] on made me feel calmer, more like myself. It was a stress relief
Gabel was always attracted to women throughout high school. But she says that when he was in high school he would have actually changed into a woman if he had the option. Although information about transgenders was limited when Gabel was growing up, he found limited information about people like Renee Richards, a transgender tennis player of the 70s. Like Gabel, Richards was born a man but wanted to be a woman.
Gabel later married and had a daughter with Heather Hannoura. Gabel spent years in a drug and alcohol binge and decided he couldn’t hide his lie any further. At age 31 Gabel decided to start anew as Laura Jane Grace. He told his wife, and she stood by his side. And when he told his band mates, they too were supportive.
Grace started therapy and hormones shortly after. The three pills she began taking in May 2012 made many changes to her then male body. Her weight was redistributed and her body took a more feminine shape, her hair grew faster and her skin softened. But surgery is still necessary for some changes.
The HRT won’t change my voice though—only surgery can do that—but I like my singing voice, so I don’t really care about that.
Grace felt supported by many rock-and-roll colleagues. Joan Jett was her “ally” and even performed with Grace in New York City during the Against Me! tour. And after feeling this support, Grace made a big decision for herself.
Deciding to wear a skirt onstage in September was a personal landmark. It was the first time I had ever worn a skirt in public—and I would be doing so in front of a couple of thousand people.
The overwhelming support has not only come from her family and fellow musicians. Fans have not wavered and still head out to her shows, because although her body has changed, the music has not.
Grace has also seen a new side to her fans. And not only see’s how supportive they are of her, but how she can support them.
During our shows this year, I was surprised by how many fans 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. Many said I was an inspiration to them, but they are an inspiration to me.
To see the juicy deets on all Grace’s treatments, how her daughter has handled the transition — and even a look into her changing sex life — click here.
On the Cosmo website you can also check out a photo diary documenting Grace’s transformation and an interview with Grace’s wife Heather.