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Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace Explains Why She Came Out in Rolling Stone

Laura Jane Grace

For most people, our gender identity is simply accepted as a matter of course — and for those who reach the often agonizing conclusion that they were born with the wrong one, the process of explaining who you really are can be unbearably difficult, even when discussed in private with those closest to you. But for Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, who until recently was known as Tom Gabel, it was simpler to announce the news in a magazine story.

Grace wrote about her personal journey in a recent editorial for the U.K.’s Guardian, looking back on the moment she knew she wanted to be a woman (seeing Madonna on TV, young Tom thought to himself, “Why not me?”) and describing the feelings of shame that went along with secretly cross-dressing during Against Me!’s early years (“You feel like you’re a deviant, and there is this danger of being caught, and you’re terrified …You believe you have a choice in the matter. But it becomes apparent to you, after a while, that you really don’t have a choice in the matter … And that’s the feeling of guilt that comes with all this.”)

And as for her decision to come out in the pages of Rolling Stone, Grace writes, “There’s a certain amount of normalizing that happens when you do it in a fashion like that.” She compares it to an early career breakthrough: “I felt like the first time we played on a late-night TV show in the States — for my parents that was a moment when they were like, ‘Oh, that’s what you do.’

“It legitimized what you did,” she continues. “So when you have something like Rolling Stone that you can hand to someone and be like, ‘If you have a question after you read this, feel free to ask me,’ was a great thing to have. As opposed to having a million and a half conversations.”

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