In a brand new interview with the Colorado Springs Independent, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford spoke about the discrimination that the LGBTQ community still faces despite the broad social acceptance of homosexuality and the legality of same-sex marriage in some parts of the world.
The British-born singer, who revealed he was gay more than 20 years ago, made his comments in response to a question about U.S. president Donald Trump banning transgender people from serving in the military, and the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as British prime minister, Boris Johnson, comparing gay marriage to bestiality.
Asked if he thinks we're taking one step forward and two steps back when it comes to LGBTQ issues, Halford said: "The world is always evolving. And I don't think we should let ourselves be duped by the idea that leaders are going to take us to this place or that place. I think we have to do what we need to do for ourselves.
"The great thing about the American style of democracy is that the person in the White House changes every four years, or at least every eight years, which is nothing compared to a lifetime.
"I feel that the LGBTQ community is being completely and utterly ignored right now by this current administration. And I think that's unforgivable. So I applaud the Equality Act that Nancy [Pelosi] and Chuck [Schumer] and everybody passed recently.
"Having said that, you know, it's a slog. But we have this song on last year's PRIEST album called 'No Surrender'. And that's what it is, you know. Life should be about no surrender, life should be about never giving up and never giving in. And when a mass of millions of people in this great country are, on the surface, being ignored completely, I think that really pisses us off. But it also makes us stronger, it makes us more energized. It gives us more strength and power to deal with what needs to be dealt with."
In 2017, Halford told Fox Sports 910 AM's "The Freaks With Kenny And Crash" radio show in Phoenix, Arizona that he thinks his position as the frontman of JUDAS PRIEST has opened the door in positivity for some. He explained: "That happened to me… I was away from PRIEST at the time, I was fronting a band called TWO with John 5, who's now with Rob Zombie. And [in 1998] 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,'" he continued. "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.
"So I said that thing [during the MTV interview], and I went back to the hotel, and I thought, 'Oh, what have I done? There's gonna be a fallout.' [But] I'd never seen such an outpouring of love from people in all my life — the letters, the faxes, the phone calls from everybody in the metal community: 'Rob, we just don't care. We want you to be who you are. We want you to sing those songs. We wanna come see you.' And that was a tremendously uplifting moment for me. And it was also a tremendously uplifting moment for metal. Because, for the longest time, metal was the underdog in rock and roll, metal was never getting any respect, metal was always at the back of the line. And so I thought, 'Well, isn't this great?' This just goes to show you that we in the metal community, as we call ourselves — probably because of the pushback that we felt because of the music that we love — we are the most tolerant, if you wanna say, the most open-minded, the most loving, the most accepting of all the kinds of music that we know in rock and roll. So it was a great moment."
After the release of JUDAS PRIEST's 1990 album "Painkiller", Halford wanted to do a solo record, but the rest of the group wouldn't let him. So he left the band and did it anyway, while his bandmates continued without him. PRIEST recruited vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens in 1996 and released two studio albums, 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition", before reuniting with Rob in 2003.