Rob Halford points out that there are places where he would be stoned to death for being gay
Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford was recently interviewed by the Edmonton Journal and spoke about his decision to tell the world that he was gay.
On whether he was concerned about losing fans as a result of coming out, Halford advised: “Oh yeah, absolutely.” Halford continued: “I was surrounded by homophobia, which still exists today. There are places I can’t go back to because I’ll be stoned to death.”
“As far as that whole business, I discovered when I did come out that I was in this trap gay people find themselves living in that you’re living your life for everyone else, but not yourself. During the ’70s and ’80s it was incredibly difficult.”
“I love Priest more than anything, so while always in my mind — I have to be careful how I say this — it’s not important to the music. Though I will say, a straight man can’t do my job [laughs]. That’s the way I view it.”
You can read the rest of the article / interview with Rob Halford at NME’s website.
Wikipedia states the following in part about Halford‘s sexual orientation (with slight edits):
“In 1998, Halford publicly revealed his homosexuality. He broke down in tears saying, “It’s a wonderful moment when you walk out of the closet. Now I’ve done that and I’ve freed myself. It’s a great feeling for me to finally let go and make this statement—especially to The Advocate, because this magazine has brought me so much comfort over the years. Obviously this is just a wonderful day for me.”
Halford describes himself as “the stately homo of heavy metal”, and says that his announcement was “the greatest thing I could have done for myself.” He also explains that he did not announce it sooner due to the fear that he was going to cause harm to himself.
Halford speaks negatively about the discrimination that the LGBT community still faces despite the broad social acceptance of homosexuality and the legality of same-sex marriage in some parts of the world. When asked about his thoughts on if his position as the frontman of Judas Priest has opened the door in positivity for some, he said, “That happened to me. I’ll try and condense this as quickly as I can. I was away from Priest at the time, I was fronting a band called 2wo with John 5, who’s now with Rob Zombie. And I was doing an interview with MTV and talking about music and blah blah blah, and very off the cuff, I said, ‘Speaking as a gay man in metal…’, blah blah blah. Well, the guy dropped his clip, the producer, because it was big news at the time. In reflection, would I have said that while was in Priest? The thing about gay people is that until we come out of the closet, we’re always protecting other people: ‘I can’t do this, because it’s gonna hurt so-and-so. We’re trying to live the lives of other people, and that’s the worst thing you can do. You’ve gotta learn to love yourself and live your own life. Then you can go out in the world and try and figure everything else out.” He recalled that shortly after the interview, he began to fear negative reactions but was quickly inundated with messages of support from his colleagues and fans.
Halford says that society has not changed as much as he hoped since his announcement, “You’d think there would have been some kind of change and people would have moved on after such a long time. Now that I’m moving through my OAP heavy metal years (laughs), I thought a lot of it would be gone by now. And it’s a shame. We don’t really get to spend a lot of time on this planet together, so there’s no point in wasting it being divided.”
Halford knew of his sexuality in his youth, and that the current American administration “doesn’t look particularly healthy right now. On the other side of it, (much has changed) so we can reach this level of equality. There is still a hell of a lot more to be done and it’s taking forever. Sometimes it’s like one step forward, two steps back. But these types of challenges only make us stronger, you know?” He then goes to say that walking out on stage as a gay man in a heavy metal band “is a victory. There’s something to be said about standing there and not saying a word. On the flip side of that, I make a hell of a lot of noise on that stage.””