JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford, who revealed he was homosexual during a 1998 appearance on MTV, has commended former DEATH and current CYNIC members Paul Masvidal (guitar, vocals) and Sean Reinert (drums), who are both gay, for speaking out for the first time about their sexuality in the context of their music.
Halford told U.K.'s Terrorizer magazine: "I told someone, 'Have you read about this? These guys in CYNIC?' He said, 'Oh, that's cool.' I said, 'I am the only gay in the village! I ain't having this!' [Laughs] But what a fucking great thing to do. It's all chipping away. There's homophobia in metal, there's homophobia in all kinds of music, but for the most part metalheads accept each other because we know we're given a lot of stick, people don't like us, they don't like our music, they don't like the way we look. So for those two guys to make that statement, it's absolutely brilliant. It's shit that you have to worry about this in 2014, isn't it? It's rubbish. But that just shows you the stupidity that goes on in the world. So God bless them. I know what it's like to come out of the closet. It's the best feeling in the world. Be true to yourself, live your life, don't hide. Nothing's going to hurt you, you can only hurt yourself. The real people that love you will love you regardless."
Halford added: "I belong to a minority. In some countries they'd kill us for being gay. It's pretty deep when you think about it. Just to keep chipping away at that is a wonderful thing, and the more people that have that power to step up and say it, it just helps the overall cause. It's a great time to live now, in terms of acceptance and tolerance. I've got a place in Amsterdam, and the Dutch never talk about this. Everybody's just everybody. There's no layers or brands. You're just who you are. I hope that day will come [elsewhere] eventually. For people who play the type of metal they play to do what they did, it's very valuable. I can't wait to meet them."
Halford stated in 1998 about his decision to publicly discuss his sexuality: "I think that most people know that I've been a gay man all of my life, and that it's only been in recent times that it's an issue that I feel comfortable to address, and an issue that has been with me ever since recognizing my own sexuality. It's something that I've been comfortable with forever, something that I feel has a moment, and this is the moment to discuss it and to go into the reasons, and the whys and the wherefores as to the statement, the so-called coming out phase."
He continued: "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."
In openly discussing his sexuality, Halford said that he hoped he would be helping others to do the same.
"I think it's difficult for everybody, you know, in making the decision to come forward and be who you are, based on peer pressure, especially if you're a teenager," Halford said. "That's where a lot of the anxiety begins, and so maybe people like myself and others that do step in front of a camera and let the world know, maybe it's of some help, where there's an individual that's been successful, that's been able to achieve dreams and visions and goals in life and not let the issue of sexuality be something to hold them back, so I think it's an important thing."