Yesterday, the New York state legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law shortly before midnight. Legal gay marriages can begin in New York by late July. With the passage of that bill, New York became the sixth U.S. state — and the largest — to legalize gay marriage. Overnight, it doubled the number of Americans living in states where gay people can legally marry.
Criticism of the new law has already started pouring forth from religious leaders, such as the official statement by the Catholic Bishops of New York that “both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.” I’ve never understood that argument, but then again, I admit I haven’t tried very hard to understand it. To me, you can believe that marriage has a religious/moral component if you want, but it also undeniably has legal consequences, too, and laws like the one NY passed is a matter of extending equal legal rights (and obligations) to gay people. That seems like progress to me.
The metal scene isn’t exactly welcoming to gay people. For the most part, it’s a male-dominated, testosterone-fueled style of music. To steal a line from journalist Amanda Hess, “the human sexuality analysis generally runs along the lines of ‘that band is fuckin’ gay.'” I’ve never really understood that attitude either. To me, metal is about living the way you want and letting other people do the same. It ought to be a culture that fully embraces diversity, requiring only one criterion for admission — that you love metal. But that’s just my ideal, not the reality. The reality, as I perceive it, is that there’s a pronounced prejudice against gay people in the metal scene, which probably explains why metal musicians who self-identify as gay are so few and far between.
But, to commemorate the historic event in New York, I’m going to feature music from a few gay metal musicians who’ve come out of the closet, or were never in it (and credit again to Amanda Hess for these prominent examples). That’s after the jump . . .
Thanks to BadWolf for this suggestion. As he acknowledged when he e-mailed, it’s kind of cheesy, but Halford has got to be the best-known gay frontman in metal, and the song title is fitting today, too.
Gaahl, the former frontman of Gorgoroth, came out of the closet in 2008. When he went public about his sexuality, he told a reporter: “My idea of art, and black metal especially, is the depiction of honesty without compromise. I really don’t care how other people react to it or the feelings it might provoke.”
Otep Shamaya, the frontwoman of Otep, has been out of the closet her whole musical career. “It never even crossed my mind why I should hide it,” she has said. “So far I’ve only had a few people who seem to have a problem with me being here. Mostly because I’m a woman, and I guess I’m the antithesis of what they embrace as what a woman is. Like, you know, tits and ass.”
FAITH NO MORE
Roddy Bottom, keyboardist for the incomparable Faith No More came out in 1993. So many great FNM songs to choose from, so many videos I could have picked. Randomly, I picked this one: