Laura Jane Grace, née Tom Gabel, front person for punk rock band Against Me!, played her first show after coming out as transgendered this Friday, opening for The Cult in San Diego. Though much internet ink has been spilled over fans' reactions to Grace's transition, the show seemed to prove only that the band's loyalties are to the music, and not, in fact, Grace's gender. When Grace sang the much analyzed line "If I could have chosen/I would have been born a woman" from the song "The Ocean," the mosh pit jumped to life, cheering and singing along, despite the fact that much of the crowd was made up of Cult fans.
Grace is only two weeks into her transition, and the process could possibly take a physical toll, but this video shows she has absolutely no problem rocking out as hard as ever. Against Me! tore through their their hits, as well as a few songs off their new LP (the appropriately titled Transgender Dysphoria Blues), including such jams as "True Trans Soul Rebel," "Dead Friend," and "Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ."
This performance marks the beginning of a month-long tour with The Cult. Grace's wife Heather and toddler, Evelyn, are along for the ride on the Against Me! bus as well, upping Heather's cred as Punk Rock Wife of the Year. And I have to say that the overwhelming support for Grace and her transition, even among fans of another band, is heartening. But it's also nice to know that despite the warm fuzzies and family-friendly vibes, punk's not dead. It's just taken a slightly different shape.