This month's Rolling Stone (with Peter Dinklage on the cover) is the first Rolling Stone magazine I've bought in probably half a decade. It's smaller and thinner than I remember. It's pricier, too ($4.99? Really?), but it was totally worth the cost just to read (and re-read) Josh Eells's story about Tom Gabel, the lead singer of Against Me!, who came out as transgender last week. Most people know by now that Gabel is going to start living her life as a woman—she's going to take hormones and eventually change her name to Laura Jane Grace. And while thousands of people have commented on the blog post announcing the news, re-posted it on Twitter and Facebook (and it's been linked to just about every other music-related blog in the world), I hope just as many people read the full story to see the person who's behind the admittedly surprising "Famous Rockstar Is Becoming a Woman" headline.
Eells does a wonderful job telling Gabel's story. I feel so many writers could've taken advantage of her generosity and used this opportunity to write a darker, heavier piece. It's the first time a famous musician has come out as transgender, after all, and her transformation still leaves so many unanswered questions. It'd be really juicy to focus on all of the dramatic possibilities—Will the band stay together? Will the marriage last? Will the fans support her?—but Eells's piece is very straight-forward. He celebrates Gabel's bravery and paints everything in a very optimistic light. He recognizes the dark places she's been over the years, of course, but then ultimately focuses on Gabel's strength and the happiness she feels now that she's being true to herself.
We get to see what it was like when Gabel told her wife (she didn't know which pronoun to use at first either), her bandmates (they got stoned and decided they needed to work out to protect her), and her mom (who sounds awesome). We get to see a very vulnerable side of Gabel, but even more importantly we see her sense of humor, kindness, and excitement. Instead of being all about the adversity, it's about the triumph. It's really, really inspiring.
Basically, it's an amazing story, it's told especially well, and everyone in the world should read it.