By Matthew Bramlett |Arts & Entertainment Editor|
This past week, Tom Gabel, the lead singer of punk band Against Me!, made waves throughout the music world by coming out as a transgendered woman in an interview with Rolling Stone.
In that article, she revealed that she had been suffering from gender dysphoria all her life and finally made the decision to transition after 31 years of crippling depression and confusion. She chose the name Laura Jane Grace and plans to undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) immediately.
She is also staying with her wife Heather, who has been unrelentingly positive about her decision.
Just as soon as the pages from an advanced copy of the issue were leaked, shocked fans from all across the Internet were blowing up message boards and social networking sites with the news. While many reactions were rightly positive, some had derogatory and negative comments directed to Laura about her life-altering decision.
“He is going to be an ugly girl. It’s a horrible decision. Horrible,” Wrote one user on Punknews.org. “I can’t take this ‘she’ shit,” Another user chimed in. “I’m legitimately disgusted. Against Me! is dead.”
Keep in mind, these comments are from a website that caters to a music community that prides itself on individual expression and progressive viewpoints.
Whatever your views on the subject of transgendered people are, people have every right in the world to live the life they want to live.
I grew up in a town that wasn’t particularly welcoming to my sexual orientation. I gravitated toward the punk scene, where I met people who were more down to earth and open-minded than anyone I had met before.
Punk taught me to believe in myself. It instilled a sense of pride and self worth in me, which gave me the strength to carry on.
It’s sad to think there are people who call themselves members of the punk community spouting off hateful and ignorant epithets in Laura’s direction.
The truth is, Laura deciding to live her life on her own terms encompasses the very essence of punk. Laura should be applauded for going public about her transition. It sends a hopeful and positive message to young people who are struggling with the same issues. She’s guaranteed to become one hell of a role model.
People like Laura Jane Grace are brave and inspiring, which are sentiments that cannot be said about the countless number of people who constantly try to tear them down.
Simply put, if you have a problem with transgendered people, then you need to grow the fuck up.