Gabel, who will be known as Laura Jane Grace, makes the admissions in a feature in the magazine, which hits newsstands on Friday and details the long road she took to get to this point; from her first childhood realizations that she was uncomfortable in her male body — she has early memories of watching Madonna on TV and fantasizing about being her, and says she played with Barbies — to her teenage years in Florida, where she kept her secret hidden and felt ashamed, telling writer Josh Eells that she would often pray to God, asking, "Dear God, when I wake up, I want a female body."
And when that didn't work, she'd try pleading with the devil, saying, "I promise to spend the rest of my life as a serial killer if you turn me into a woman."
Gabel said that she took inspiration from a transgender Against Me! fan named January Hunt — the feature opens with the two meeting in New York City — to finally begin transitioning from male to female, and has begun the process by undergoing electrolysis treatments (she'll also soon begin taking hormones). She says she plans on living life as Laura for a full year before thinking about having sexual-reassignment surgery, and that she's given up drinking alcohol, because she wants to be totally present for the transition process.
"I don't want to feel like, 'This is an uncomfortable situation, I'll have a couple drinks,' " she said. "I want to meet it head-on."
At the time of the Rolling Stone interview, Gabel had yet to reveal her transgender status to her parents, who are divorced, and had only recently told her Against Me! bandmates about her decision to transition ("I felt like I drop-kicked them in the face," she said. "We had the most awkward hug ever, and then they left. And the second I shut the door, I was like, 'What the f--- did I just do?' "). But she says that she has every intention to carry on fronting the band, saying: "However fierce our band was in the past, imagine me, six-foot-two, in heels, f---ing screaming into someone's face."
And though much of the Rolling Stone feature focuses on Gabel's journey, Eells also spoke at length with Gabel's wife, Heather, who admitted to being a bit thrown by her husband's revelations, but ultimately decided that she wanted to stand by her side during the transition ... and beyond.
"I kept waiting to get mad. Like, 'Tomorrow, I'll be really upset,' " Heather told the magazine. "I'm like 'Let's just see what happens, and we'll just roll with it.' My friends have been like, 'What about you?' But I'm fine. I just want him to be who he is, and for us to get on with phase two. You know, just ... change."