Once hailed by Spin as one of the 25 greatest live acts in modern day music, punk rockers Against Me! have announced a couple of sideshows whilst in Australia as part of Big Day Out 2013. For Australian audiences it will be their first chance to see Against Me! live since lead singer Tom Gabel publicly announced that he was undergoing gender-altering treatment and changed his name to Laura Jane Grace.
In May of this year Gabel revealed to Rolling Stone that for years he had been struggling with gender dysphoria, and was “taking hormones and undergoing electrolysis treatments” in his endeavour to continue life as a woman.
In June Gabel gave his first interview as Laura Jane Grace. Speaking with MTV, Laura Jane explained her struggles as she attempted to live life as a male, and the support she has received from her wife.
In July Laura Jane gave another interview, this time to The Guardian, explaining the internal stress and external pressures of trying to conceal her transgender, while also touching on some concerns the lead singer has on being attacked while performing before fans that may be less than understanding.
“It’s a feeling of great existential dread. Peripherally, being aware of the way you are in your body and feeling cognisant of the fact that I’m male – like looking down and seeing male features – and feeling, internally, ‘but I’m not’. You feel a detachment, and you feel hyper-aware of everything that’s around you. Then, at the same time, you feel extreme feelings of shame and guilt and confusion, so that all works into a nice little cocktail in your head,” Laura Jane told The Guardian.
“When you’re in a punk band you’re framed as an angry white male. That’s you: angry; white; male. And you’re screaming at the top of your lungs, and you’re angry about this and that.” Which, in one way, suited her. “But you become a parody in some ways, and the more and more I saw that, the more and more frustrated I felt,” said Laura Jane.
“[The fans] were pretty high on the pecking order, just because there’s the very real worry of: ‘What if someone attacks me? What if I’m on stage and someone tries to do something to publicly humiliate me?’… There’s that total fear, because I’ve been hit in the face with bottles in the past. So there’s that fear, for sure,” she said
Against Me! – Big Day Out 2013 Sideshows:
Thursday, 17th January
The Manning Bar, Sydney
Tuesday, 22nd January
The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
Tickets for both shows available from 9am EST Thursday, 11 October at www.bigdayout.com.
Check out all the other Big Day Out 2013 sideshows here.