[N]ot that I think this deserves any kind of explanation…–‘The Disco Before The Breakdown’
Being a long time fan of Against Me!, I’ve tried to follow all of the comments, articles, zines, interviews, etc., discussing Tom Gabel’s “transformation” to Laura Jane Grace. Suffering from what has been labelled ‘gender dysphoria’ (perhaps something of a misnomer as gender is an ideological construct–that in and of itself may be the most likely culprit to much of the abuse that comes from expectations regarding our ‘sex’), Gabel decided to become Laura Jane Grace. He is now a her. Unlike many in the punk rock community (and larger music community–as Against Me! is far from being an underground band), I do not feel the need to offer commentary on the whys, the hows, and the biological essentialisms/social constructivisms that may or may not determine what constitutes a person. Rather, I can only imagine that Laura Jane Grace will continue to be one badass punk-rocker that thrives in a community that, in theory, offers an alternative to the patriarchal and hetero-sexist elitism of ‘mainstream’ politics–though, I know that is far from the truth. But this is what makes her such a strong representative of an often flailing and failing community. It’s why we’re so proud to claim her as one of our own. The baptism of punk rock runs deep. It knows no ‘gender’, because it knows better.
Rock on, Laura Jane Grace.
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.