In a May 2012 Rolling Stone interview, Tom Gabel made a brave public statement: Having lived with gender dysphoria from a young age, the frontman of socially conscious Florida punk act Against Me! announced that he would transition to female, to be known as Laura Jane Grace. The news surprised even the most dedicated Against Me! fans, but drew overwhelmingly positive reaction from the music community. The Gaslight Anthem, Tegan and Sara, and former Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay offered their support, as did WWE wrestler CM Punk.
A little more than 12 months later, Grace is celebrating her first year as a woman with a short solo acoustic tour, ending with two New York dates. A new Against Me! album, the mischievously, brilliantly titled Transgender Dysphoria Blues, is on the horizon, and odds are good that these shows will provide a preview—not least because the tour is called “Laura Jane Grace Sings the Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” Against Me! having canceled a planned spring tour with Bad Religion, these will be the first chances to hear the new material live. More than that, the shows present a superb opportunity to witness firsthand Grace’s immense, inspiring courage.—Mischa Pearlman