'Heavy Metal Is Totally Gay,' Terrorizer Magazine Claims

Op-ed published as Rob Halford talks homosexuality in music.

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In an op-ed piece penned for Terrorizer (via the PRP), writer Tom Dare has hit out at the heavy metal scene for continuing homophobic attitudes.

As Dare notes, there is an irony in such attitudes, given the influence of the 1970s San Francisco homosexual counterculture on heavy metal:

"Heavy metal is totally gay. It's a predominantly male audience watching predominantly male bands act as butch and masculine as possible. It's leather, denim, tight trousers (we'll skip over the baggy jeans of nu metal, because that was actually the closest metal's ever come to being straight) and a bunch of other shit that has more to do with 1970s San Francisco gay clubs than anything vaguely hetero. It's all phallic metaphors, homoerotic imagery and sweaty (frequently topless) men grappling each other in a dark room. And yet we are amongst the most homophobic sets of music fans in the world.

"There seems to be this odd perception amongst metallers of gays as mincing queens effeminately cocking a limp wrist. And while gay men like that certainly exist, it is far from the majority - and in fact, is something liable to win you prejudice even amongst the LGBT community. In fact, the closer to a Manowar press shot (with or without loincloth-only garb) you get, the closer you get to something genuinely gay."

The Terrorizer piece comes as Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, one of the few openly gay men in metal, has spoken about homophobia in music. Speaking with Metal Injection (via Blabbermouth), Halford noted that he is never approached by gay Judas Priest fans, although he believes they exist. This is something that he attributes, not just to homophobia in metal, but in music more generally:

"A lot of homophobia still exists in the music world, in all kinds of music. I wouldn't say it's any more phobic in metal or rap or whatever this music is that I'm doing now, but that's just something that I think we all have to address in our own lives. If we have a problem with it, I think we should seek help and find out why we do have a problem with it."

78 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pretty sure we left the leather in the 80s
    Why are people like this allowed to talk?
    Because people like you are too
    But I'm not the one spouting that every person associated with a certain culture is gay. That's some shit 14 year olds argue about.
    I think you missed the point. He's just saying that any homophobia in metal culture (not that it's necessarily rampant) is ironically ridiculous. For example, someone might have a problem with a guy in spandex dancing in a club, but if that same guy were to get on stage and sing Ain't Talkin Bout Love, that would be cool. It was an interesting article with points to ponder, not a troll calling metal fans gay. Don't be so gay about it.
    Actually I think the person that wrote this article has a point here. He could have worded it in a way that made him sound a little nicer but he has a good point... Edit: Rob Halford is gay!? ive been living under a rock. (I have no problem with this, just surprised I didn't know)
    How'd you miss that?! But yeah, the point is pretty sound, that given how exaggeratedly macho the majority of classic metal stuff is it's kinda bizarre for there to be such homophobia around it. I mean, Rammstein got #2 in that poll, watch the Bück Dich stage show Seriously, though, homophobia's something that still needs eradicating throughout our culture, not just in metal.
    The theory is that the more you need to try and act brutal to impose yourself, the more "under the surface" feminine feelings you have, otherwise you'd just be cool, not compensating for anything.
    Halford came out like 15 years ago. Don't worry, I didn't know Elton John was gay until I was 20; he came out long before I was born.
    I don't think he's saying everyone who listens to metal is gay, but that there's absolutely no reason to look down on gays in this culture.
    This guy missed the mark. It has less to do with heavy metal and more to do with being in San Fransisco in the 70s.
    I've been saying metal is gay for years now. Truthfully this is the only respectable thing I've ever heard come out of this douches mouth
    Why does he believe there is a homophobic attitude in metal? doesn't bother me in the slightest if a guy at a show or in a band is gay or not, I don't give a shit.. that's his business
    I'm not speaking directly about the whole metal community (I'm part of it and I don't even consider sexuality as an important issue. People can love whoever they like, it doesn't affect me), but from what I've seen in the larger scale is that there is a lot of homophobia. Like there's heaps of homophobia in Hip Hop, Punk, Rock, Blues...actually the only genre where it's really absent is Ambient and Disco...but you read comment threads on youtube, UG, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, and the word f***got and the phrases ''that's gay/you're gay'' are thrown around without a care. I've even seen people get turned off by Judas Priest because of Rob Halford. I have the same opinion as you on homosexuality. But sadly we don't reflect the metal community on our own :/
    perhaps then it's just a reflection on society in general rather than any particular genre of music, metal or otherwise?
    well of course. That isn't even debatable, especially due to the religious views in politics causing human rights to be broken (here in Australia Religion seems to be all that matters when it comes to these issues). But I'm commenting in context of music. Hence why I mentioned that most genres of music has it but metal seems to be more prominent (along with Hip Hop).
    Only thing is that music is just one part of peoples lives, so if you're talking about music (and most of it's genres), you're talking about most of society as well.
    I think especially with the growing popularity of metal in developing countries like Saudi Arabia and such, where there is rampant homophobia, it's certainly a valid issue. Americans are better about it but still not innocent. Hip Hop is probably the worst though, and I'm a fan of that as well, but it really bothers me how bad that community can be and how popular they are right now.
    I actually can't compare to other genres since I don't know them well enough, but metal is in no way particularly homophobic. Retards exist like in every single genre ever, but there's quite a few prominent musicians who came out, and the vast majority of fans seem to be perfectly ok with it. The first quoted article is quite ignorant, massively exaggerating the "gay" comparisons and making pretty baseless accusations of homophobia. Rob is being awesome and reasonable as always.
    All he's saying is metal culture is so infused with elements of gay culture that it's ironic for metalheads to be homophobic. He's right.
    Heavy metal is not homosexual but it is very homoerotic, and there is a big difference between the two.
    I can't remember who said it, but it was in Metal: A Headbangers Journey; "You get these dudes in tight leather showing off their masculinity.. in front of loads of other dudes!" Metal is extremely homo-erotic, but we've never let that bother us.
    People need to stop talking in absolutes. Just because something had even a few homoerotic attributes, people jump to calling it (or the person) gay. Guess what? Life isn't black and white. Sexuality is a scale and most people don't fall on one extreme or the other. You can be mostly straight, only date girls and still enjoy something with homoerotic qualities. People need to stop defining things so rigidly and accept that the world is full of nuance.
    lol...i guess the point came where it's time to stop telling ppl you're into metal. but in all seriousness, metal isn't as 1 track as this OP(with gay issues obviously) makes it seem.yes, the majority is male...so when a male performer, clad in tight leather or spandex or faggy make-up n shit, with long hair who sing like high pitched women, shake their bulges at the males...it's pretty fkn gay...same goes with these "shredders" who think playing a million notes per second to impress all the teenage boys makes them awesome. metal isn't a look or just a simple performance. it's an inner beast, too aggressive for most women to be a part of...it's only just a few decades in, that trend followers made it more about the spectacle over the actual music...and that's why it's totally gay now. i mean really, look at the majority of performers now...their all painted up or wearing stupid costumes, eye liner, painted finger nails n all sorts of swag n shit...it's like those kids back in school who were buying pre-ripped jeans to fit because they thought it was a cool and badass look lol...
    It's all right boys, I know that this topic is a sensitive issue for some of you, but he doesn't care if you have gay-pride or metal-pride, or gay-metal pride, he's just making provocative statements to generate ideas and dialogue. He's actually a producer for a new reality show "Queer Eye for the Inner Beast Metal Guy". It's about a group of gay guys that help misogynistic idiots understand it's not fear of the Kardashians, but fear of being forced to move out of their mother's basement when they turn 40, that prevents them from getting that recording deal that they just...can't...get...
    Idk if metal is homophobic but just listen to a metal fan talk about a band or subgenre they dont like and theyre sure to call them gay/fags so there is that
    i bet somewhere theirs a pop magazine with some metal band saying "pop is gay! electronics suck!" and all these 13 year old girls are getting all offended.
    Where did the article say heavy metal sucks? (Was that your point?) The point of the article was that there's lots of "gay" things in metal and many people are OK with them but they are not OK with actual gay people - and that's kind of strange. It's not hating on metal or anything like that.
    Tom Dare you ****ing bellend , nobody gives a **** , we're here for the music . The problem is people being too ****ing interested in who is putting their knob in what gender of hole , ****ing hell man , I might sound like an old fart but people like Tom "arseface" Dare are obsessed with talking about sex like some 13 year old virgin whose going to get bollocked for sticking daddy's playboy pages together . Get a grip , ****ing sick of everybody living like they're on Jeremy ****ing Kyle . I've found fellow metalheads around the world to be incredibly articulate , generous caring people . Now when I was in the army , homophobia and racism everywhere . sort that out Tom instead of inventing an issue . Arse .
    Metal is homophobic? One of our biggest heroes is Rob freaking Halford!! Whoever wrote this is a tool.
    Who ever wrote this article is a fag and has been holding it in so long... and now just found out that Rob Halford is one to so he is wide open and ready to say everybody is a fag that is into Metal ...The problem with queers is that they really think everybody is gay or has some in them...OH whats that...i could not hear you take that dick out of your mouth
    Whoever wrote that article is a faggot. And there is nothing wrong about being a homo"phobic". If you dont like something thats that. No one can judge you.
    Maybe people wouldn't care if people were str8, gay, black, white etc. If people didn't write articles, or make such a big deal about nothing. It's not your life, so shut the f**k up.
    I find the metal community to be one of the most tolerant group of people.
    metal community is the first to be scrutinized and the last to be recognized as contributing artist I mean look at the randy blythe situation he stayed in a czche jail for 2 months with out rights if it was Kanye West that it happened to US would of had him released in no time
    When I type Tom Dare into google I find an IT Manager who worked as a Business Intelligence manager for My Space. I am going to guess this isn't the same guy. Wikipedia knows of no Tom Dare (did you mean tom dart?). So what is the relevance of Tom Dare's opinion to anyone ... ?
    Far From Heaven by Dream Theater is based on the movie Far From Heaven about a gay man in the 50's. I made a video for the song and James said it wasn't gay enough. See Dream Theater Far From Heaven (Demo)
    Has gay changed meaning again or something? I thought it was about shagging your own sex not cheese, glam or a gig like environment. Seriously Halford, if you spent more time on your stage presence, learning song lyrics and general musician ship and less time declaring your self a metal god, bitching about the industry that made you rich and calling all your fans and those of other metal bands fudge nudgers you might actually be taken seriously rather than being the gimmicky little tosser you are.....now if Bruce Dickinson said metal was gay I'd be mincing it down the street covered in bells, chains and rainbow covered tigerstripe but he didn't because it isn't, obviously.
    Did you read the article before posting? First of all, it wasn't written by Halford (and it didn't even quote Halford). And also, it didn't actually call metal gay. It just said metal culture is full of "gay" things. But there is also lots of homophobia in metal and in every other genre. The article just used metal as an example because it seemed pretty ironic. You have to admit that metal culture is full of pretty "gay" things if you just think about it.
    Fret Frier
    I do not exactly agree with this article however, I am not a fan of metal culture. Metal is not very musical. Just angry kids with fast fingers and guitars. No doubt that their are very talented metal musicians, I just wish that they put their talent to better use.
    And i thought being 'gay' was being sexually attracted to your own gender... but that's none of my business.
    We get it. LGBT acceptance is the 'in' thing nowadays...public acceptance/gender equality/equal rights/blablablabla...but why do you have to keep on shoving it down our throats?
    because you like having things shoved down your throat according to this article.
    Because even today there are people being put to death or imprisoned simply for being homosexual...it's not a ****ing "in" thing
    I know. And there are other websites/forums to talk all about that all day long.