Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace chats with Joan Smalls from MTV's "House Of Style."
When Against Me!'s Tom Gabel made the brave decision in May 2012 to come out as transgender and to publicly transition into life as Laura Jane Grace, she quietly broke the news via a Rolling Stone article. And for someone in the public eye, known for his rugged, car-wheels-on-a-gravel-road voice and alpha-male punk appeal, the artist -- and woman -- now known as Laura did so with a quiet grace and effortless elegance that spoke more about her character and heart than about her decision to wear lipstick and wedge boots. This wasn't a publicity stunt cooked up by management. It was an earnest, honest attempt to reconcile her own internal gender conflict and live freely as a woman still capable of fronting a punk band with as much swagger, bravado, and confidence as the man she once lived as.
That said, she still needed new clothes.
MTV "House Of Style" host Joan Smalls headed down to St. Augustine Florida, where Laura opened up her home and her closet -- literally -- and let Joan in on her collection of little black dresses, holdovers from her days as Tom (a filthy denim vest, and a Dead Kennedys shirt held together by safety pins), Target must-haves (I feel you, girl!) and yes, painful but highly stylish Margiela boots.
Watch Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace discuss transitioning into her transgender style on "House Of Style."
But aside from giving us a voyeuristic look into her closet, perhaps the most touching part of Laura's "House Of Style" closet tour is the peaceful confidence with which she's publicly embraced her private transition.
"For a lot of transexuals, it's really important to pass in public," she explained. "And while I understand that, I don't mind being identified as a transsexual when I go out in public. I'm very happy with myself, and I'm very comfortable with myself. A lot of the things I do or a lot of the tips I've picked up have been from other trans women on the internet or other women I've met since coming out, and they all have beauty tips and unique things they recommend. The only reason I'm putting myself out here or talking about anything is because there've been so many trans girls on YouTube or that I've read about that put themselves out there and make their knowledge available. I feel like I have to return the favor. When I was 14 years old, if I was watching 'House of Style,' watching a transexual being interviewed and talking about that, it would've completely changed my life."