By now, all kinds of media outlets have published articles referencing Rolling Stone’s teaser story about Against Me! singer Tom Gabel coming out as transgender. The full story, which was written by Josh Eells and is due out this Friday, will detail the musician’s until-now private challenges with gender dysphoria, medical processes with hormone treatments and electrolysis and ultimate transition to becoming Laura Jane Grace. Gabel will remain married to her wife, Heather.
“I’m going to have embarrassing moments,” Gabel said in the article. “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.”
Grace’s pronouncement and open discussion of her choice certainly distinguishes her as newsworthy public figure in the 21st century musical environment. In fact, she may be the most well recognized musician to undergo such a change.
But transgender artists aren’t completely absent in the music world. In the ‘70s, Jayne County (born Wayne Rogers and formerly known as Wayne County) began her career as an author, actress and musician. Additionally, composer Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos) scored the soundtrack to the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange in 1971.
More recently JD Samson (born Jocelyn Samson) fronted Le Tigre and JD Samson & MEN. According to NPR, Samson doesn’t explicitly identify as transgender, but supports the community. Other underground musicians include Americana/country trio Coyote Grace’s; Joe Stevens, hip-hop artist Rocco Kayiatos who uses the moniker Katastrophe and Mina Caputo Gabel described in a tweet earlier this afternoon as, “a huge inspiration.”