OTEP Frontwoman Talks About Being A Lesbian Singer In A Heavy Metal Band

January 31, 2005

OTEP frontwoman Otep Shamaya recently spoke to AfterEllen.com about being a lesbian in the heavy metal world and how the group landed their Ozzfest appearance, among other topics. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:

AfterEllen.com: With the kind of diverse musical influences you had, what brought you to metal?

Otep Shamaya: "Aggression, that's it. I'm quite an aggressive person. I needed a sonic landscape that was just as aggressive as I am. Bands like SLAYER and SLIPKNOT, hearing those bands, there was something phenomenal about the way they communicated their messages. Just so precisely, like barbwire. I just fell in love with it. It never occurred to me that women don't do this kind of music. It never even crossed my mind that I was a rarity or something unique. It didn't cross my mind that I'm a lesbian and there were no other lesbians around me."

AfterEllen.com: That are out.

Otep Shamaya: "That I know of, so it never even crossed my mind why I should hide it. Why I should hide anything. Why should I think along those terms? I don't feel like I'm something unique. So far I've only had a few people who seem to have a problem with me being here. Mostly because I'm a woman, and I guess I'm the antithesis of what they embrace as what a woman is. Like, you know, tits and ass. The sexuality of what I do is not even a part of it. If there is anything in there that people can see as erotic, it's not anything overt. Everyone needs an enemy, and all too often it's us. If you're not just gay for a day or bisexual…"

AfterEllen.com: Or you're not there for them to watch with their girlfriend!

Otep Shamaya: "Exactly, I get that a lot, even from girls. It's weird. 'Oh I'd be lesbian for Otep. Maybe she'd let my boyfriend join in.' Ew! No! I think the lesbian community is just now showing all of itself, all of its faces. Where as before, people might have a certain idea of what a lesbian is. The more exposure people get to any community I think is good. I don't judge them based on their lives, and I don't care if they like mine or not, I'm not here for that. We are born alone and we die alone, what's in between is mine."

Read the entire interview at this location.

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