Is Heavy Metal Becoming More Gay-Friendly?

July 31, 2005

Joshua Rotter of, a web site dedicated to "reviews and commentary on gay and bisexual men in entertainment and the media," has issued the following report:

MÖTLEY CRÜE's current "Carnival of Sin" reunion tour might seem as exciting to most gay men as the NBA finals, a point that was reinforced by a recent experience I had at a gay bar in San Francisco.

Wearing an old CRÜE concert T-shirt, I was approached by a guy, awestruck by the fact that a "brother" would be caught out in metal gear. He thought he was the only gay metal fan. Demystified by his erroneous assumption, I began reminiscing with him about the many metal bands, METALICA, MÖTLEY CRÜE, GUNS N' ROSES, that served as soundtrack to my youth, all the shows I had seen and how I'd dressed as GUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose last Halloween. As we proceeded to trade metal memories over beers, he even announced that he would be heading to Sacramento in the next couple of days to catch the CRÜE show.

A few hours later, as I contemplated his seemingly ridiculous statement, I began to think he was right. He was the first gay metal fan I had ever met.

Even MÖTLEY CRÜE, for instance, never had a gay following — at least until the infamous Pam and Tommy Lee sex tape was leaked in the late 1990s, which exposed Lee's massive member.

This made me wonder: teased hair, bondage gear and make-up jokes aside, is heavy metal gay-friendly? Not so, according to its history.

Heavier than hard rock, the genre's screaming vocals, aggressive, driving rhythms, highly amplified guitars, sexist lyrics and dark obsessions have for the most part never appealed to a gay audience in the same way that disco, R&B and handbag house have.
And it's not like metalheads have ever ingratiated themselves with their gay brethren. Who can forget John Heyn and Jeff Krulik's 1986 film "Heavy Metal Parking Lot", about a bunch of testosterone-fueled rednecks at a JUDAS PRIEST concert tailgate party say that you're gay if you like any other band?

In an ironic twist, when the band’s frontman, Rob Halford came out of the closet in 1993, his relationship with PRIEST initially suffered, as he was replaced by straight Tim Owens for a number of years (Halford eventually returned to the group in 2003). It's no different for girls, as rumor has it that metal goddess Lita Ford was often at odds with lesbian members of her 1970s rock outfit THE RUNAWAYS, among them future solo star Joan Jett.

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