Jun 252011

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.”


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:

  17 Responses to “PROGRESS”

  1. I personally support gay marriage. I think gays deserve the right to see their loved one in a hospital, or to see their partner’s body after a terrible occurrence.


    This article was coincidentally posted not too long after I had (the same/a similar quesiton).

    I hate it when metalheads call scene kids and other people “fags” or “faggots”. I hate those words. I bet most people don’t even know how it came to be used in such a derogatory fashion. Plus it just makes metalheads look like idiotic, childish bigots.

    Interesting Fact: It came to be used the way it is today because in history gays were generally seen as connected to the devil (or something like that) and they were publicly burned at the stake; but because they were gay (I think it was because they were gay, I don’t totally remember) they had to be put directly into the fire where they couldn’t be seen, around the sticks, which as many of you may know, when in bundles, are referred to as “faggots”.

    • I’m sure there are metalheads out there who would never use the N word in referring to a black man or woman but throw the F word around in referring to gay men like it means nothing. Some of those same people also throw around the C and B words in referring to women like that’s cool, too. It ain’t cool (at least not as I see it).

    • I remember when that article was posted, and I was pleasantly surprised at all the support for gay marriage I saw in the comments. Yeah, there were some jackasses in there, too, but much more positive sentiment than I was expecting.

  2. It is progress! And congrats. Only, what is it, 44 (?) more states to go.

    Best quote about it I saw today on Heavy Blog is Heavy: “Fuck yeah, Gay Marriage passed in New York. This is another monumental step for human rights. Congrats you beautiful gay bastards!”

    • When it comes to granting legal rights to people who aren’t adult, white, heterosexual males, our elected representatives move VERY DELIBERATELY. Some might say that’s because most of our elected representatives are adult, white, heterosexual males. But that would be cynical.

  3. I saw a story last week about two old-men in New York who’d been together for over sixty years. It’s great that now they can finally seal the deal, seeing as how they’ve outlasted the majority of traditional marriages.

    • Yeah, faithfulness (and unfaithfulness) aren’t qualities limited to heterosexual relationships. I’m glad those guys lived long enough to see this day.

  4. Lady Gaga got nuttin’ on you! Woot!

    Seriously, good job, New York! You get like a million cookies!

  5. I am honestly happy for this and having seen that statement of the bishops i’m even more happy. Moreover, after i read some of the comments regarding the use of the F-word, i couldn’t help to think about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IFloXOuLgA

    • I have never been comfortable with the F-word, because, despite what he’s saying in the video, it’s really not true, in my opinion. “Faggot” is derogatory because it indicates that the person is gay and thus should be burned alive. Even if you don’t mean it like that, that’s what you’re really saying. I understand that you can say/call someone a “faggot” or “gay” and not intend any slight towards gay people, but, unfortunately, the implication is still there.

      And! To illustrate the point, I also have a video from Louis CK (who I adore!) about the word…

    • To be clear, I realize it’s kind of a complex problem, involving things like free speech and true intention.

      I’m not trying to say one is a gay hating, homophobic asshole just because one uses the word “faggot”, I’m just trying to say that I think we really shouldn’t use the word. Kinda like the ol’ n-word.

      On a personal level, I literally feel physically uncomfortable even thinking about saying them…which is not necessarily a good thing…

  6. On using fag as a derogatory term, as usual it would seem, South Park got this right:


    As far as the actual topic goes I covered that two years ago (and I’m too lazy to type again)


    Finally while it’s not exactly on topic, George always knew what to say:


    • It may have been slightly off-toipic, but George did have a way of just cutting right through all the bullshit with a big cleaver. As for South Park, I guess I’m too fucking old to know that “fag” gets used to refer to people other than gay men. What’s wrong with just sticking to “douchebag”? I’ve always found that to be a perfectly good pejorative.

      • Yeah personally I just use “fucking douche(bag)” all the time, but the south park clip is brilliant in showing that language does evolve (whether you like it or not) and to younger people today (and like you I’m an old fuck so this doesn’t necessarily apply to us) fag isn’t necessarily a swipe at homosexuals, but more synonymous with “douchebag asshole”

  7. I don’t support gay marriage. Metal isn’t happy sing along time where we accept people for who they are. If a person is something, that’s fine, but I don’t have to support it in the name of metal.
    In regards to the word faggot, it is a stupid word. Same as any derogative term. What i also think is stupid is saying “the F-word.” We’re all big boys/girls/hermaphrodites here.

    • I have my idea of what’s metal and you have yours. I also think that metal is without rules, or it should be, which means people should be free to believe whatever the fuck they want, and “political correctness” isn’t part of what’s metal. But at the same time, I also stand by what I said before — I think metal is about letting other people live the way they choose, whether or not it’s your way, and that means supporting their right to do it. Something I hope you’ll think about.

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