Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of Against Me! came out as transgendered a year ago. She’s decided to tell the story of her transition in the May edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. Color me surprised she chose Cosmopolitan as the venue for to tell her story…but surprised in the best way possible!
The story chronicles Tom Gabel’s transition into Laura Jane Grace, beginning in the spring of 2012. There’s a bit at the beginning from an editor, but largely, the piece is told in first person, including an additional first-person perspective from Laura Jane’s wife, Heather. It’s raw, honest, and a fascinating glimpse into the inner life of someone who is transitioning.
I tend to think of Cosmo as the most heterocentric and cisgendered of all the heterocentric, cisgendered women’s mags. Call me crazy, but the magazine known for “100 ways to please your man,” “4 signs he’s craving you” and stories of that ilk doesn’t seem like the most obvious publication to tell a transgender woman’s story (That’s not to say that the sex-positivity Cosmo sells isn’t also important and progressive, by the way!) But that’s partially why I think Laura Jane’s story appearing in Cosmo is so awesome (and powerful). I’d expect to see something like this story in say…Bitch or Bust or another liberal, feminist magazine. Bringing it to a wider, supermarket-checkout line audience is a smart move, and one that hopefully heralds a watershed in attitudes towards transgendered people.
The fact that Laura Jane’s story is in Cosmo will hopefully help to diminish transphobia and normalize transpeople for an entirely new audience.
So kudos, Cosmo! Let’s hope this article will
Photo: MTV’s House Of Style