When a person who has kept her sexuality private or who otherwise has lived his public life as a straight person comes out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, it’s a big deal. It’s an important time in that person’s life, as well as his family’s and friends’ lives.
Like it or not, it can be an even bigger deal when that person is a celebrity, simply because of the often global audience watching that person…
…and an even BIGGER deal when the celebrity comes out as transgender, something that doesn’t happen all that often.
Such is the case for Thomas James “Tom” Gabel, the lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter for punk band Against Me!, who has announced he is transgender and will soon be known as Laura Jane Grace.
According to Rolling Stone, Gabel’s announcement is the first of it’s kind among the music industry.
The mag states that “because this is the first time a major rock star has come out as transgender,” Gabel is making a “point of speaking openly about it.”
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.
Unsurprisingly, some people are being kind – and others aren’t.
For those who aren’t, those who are have some pretty interesting questions. Specifically, rock band Gaslight Anthem wants to know:
How about the people who go through this and never find peace and end up committing suicide? Would you rather that? Or maybe he could become a raging drug addict and ruin his life and family? Would you rather that? Or maybe we could have rules from a dictator where everyone gets killed for anything they believe against the government, oh wait that doesn’t work…
How about you leave the guy alone. How about you let another human being make a decision about their lives without your snide prejudices and bigotry?
Herdon Graddick, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD), spoke out for Gabel, too:
Tom’s decision to live life authentically is a not only a personal step forward, but one that will advance the national discussion about treating transgender people with fairness. As more and more Americans get to know people who are transgender, they’re coming to embrace and celebrate them.
For the full story, pick up the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which hit stands May 11. Also, you can learn more about gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria, at Psych Central’s Gender Identity Disorder Symptoms and from the Gender Dysphoria Organization.
In the meantime, if you or anyone you know has experience coming out as gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. What was your biggest obstacle? What helped get you through the hard times?
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Last reviewed: 15 May 2012