In its 251st issue out this week, leading British extreme music magazine Terrorizer explains why the heavy metal community needs to clean up its act and banish homophobia from heavy metal.
Following the recent candid interview with the iconic openly gay frontman of Judas Priest, Rob Halford, which discussed the recent decision by Cynic’s Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert to jointly make a statement confirming both band members to be gay, in August’s issue of Terrorizer Magazine our news section leads with a challenge to the heavy metal community to eliminate the deep rooted problem of homophobia, directed particularly at gay men, that exists within heavy metal.
Terrorizer Editor Tom Dare writes ‘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. It’s all phallic metaphors, homoerotic imagery and sweaty men (frequently topless) grappling each other in a dark room.’
Challenging stereotypes. Tom continues. ‘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… gay men are still men. They like football, gaming and action films as much as anyone else with a Y chromosome. The stereotypes portraying gay men as soft, sensitive, delicate flowers who only want to talk about fashion and feelings are as wide of the mark as the stereotype of metalheads as stupid, drunken, unwashed, uneducated Satan worshippers who are more likely to go on a killing spree than hold down a job and function in normal society.’
That said, homophobia in metal causes real damage, and it is this to which Terrorizer is bringing attention ‘some of the homophobia is simply an extension of the homophobia in society. It is undoubtedly true that a section of society thinks it’s OK, or even funny, to use “gay” or related terms and epithets as negatives, as terms of abuse, and that this spills over into metal. But metal also has some aspects of its homophobic tendencies that are purely our own problems.’
‘Whatever the root cause, none of these are acceptable as excuses. Homophobia is horrible in all its forms. It hurts people. “Gay” as a synonym for “bad” tells LGBT people that they are different, that they are bad, that they are somehow inferior to straight people.
‘It leads people to deny their identity, to battle with their own psyche, and is a significant part of why depression and suicide amongst LGBT people is still such a problem. It is why Rob Halford was in the closet for 25 years, why the Cynic guys only publicly spoke about their sexuality this year, and why there are so few openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender musicians in high profile metal bands.’
There is scant representation of LGBT individuals in heavy metal, ‘statistically, if we accept the percentage of the male population who are gay as around the seven per cent it is reported as, and if we take the average number of male musicians per band as four (it’s not, it’s higher, but we’ll stick with four for simplicity’s sake), then the Bloodstock main stage should feature eight gay musicians (to the nearest whole number), or two entire bands. In fact, there is a flat zero of publicly out men performing. That’s none. Zip. Nada’
‘We, the metalhead community, have been throughout our history, even to this day, f**king rubbish at challenging it, about sorting out our own house, at saying “you like metal? You’re in. Who you fancy doesn’t matter.
‘We need to fix this.
‘And because metal’s so f**king gay, we’ll look bloody stupid if we don’t.’
Terrorizer 251 is onsale from Thursday 24 July and is available from WHSmiths and www.Terrorizer.com.