Friday, June 5, 2009

Gay Metalheads?


Male dominated. Sweaty. In your face. Brutal. Head Banging. Mosh Pits. Screaming. Aggression.


Where would gay fit into any of this?


One of my best friends is gay and plays bass in a metal band (Well, he says metal- I say metal core). He hasn't told a soul that he's gay, besides me and the few others he's come out to. What saddens me the most is that he hasn't told his best friends/band members that he is. I wondered about this for a while. Why would he feel that he couldn't tell his best friends, some of which he's known since kindergarten?


This made me think that being a gay metal head is almost comparable to being a female metal head or a black metal head but it just might be worse. Metal is generally super machismo (not including hair metal which I don't consider real metal) as well as aggressive and doesn't really allow for a homosexual male to feel comfortable declaring that he is indeed homosexual. I bet there are a good bit of gay famous heavy metal musicians but only a few are brave enough to out themselves, like the one in the picture above. Gaahl of black metal band, Gorgoroth. He practically screams 'gay'.
Or the most famous outed gay metalhead Rob Halford of Judas Priest. Those are the only two that I could think of off the top of my head. And out of all the metal bands and fans out there I'm positive there are more. I might go as far as to say that heavy metal is slightly homophobic. It's almost like being a gay rapper. Have you heard of any famous gay male rappers? I didn't think so.


I always found it humorous that metal is so testosterone fueled yet the fans are okay with growing their hair long, wearing make up and tight leather pants yet be so standoff-ish when it comes to the possibility of gay men in their scene.
What say you?

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

and yet Gaahl believes that humans are basically scum, and that equality should be abolished... he's definitely a strange fellow.

Anonymous said...

luke said (above)...
sorry, forgot to put my name.

Anonymous said...

Jackson Rathbone and Lords Of Chaos :

http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=120512

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dare Devil said...

I don't know for sure whether it is true, but somebody told me that the Varg movie is a hoax. If it should be true then I think that Jackson Rathbone is a good choice for playing Varg though. Just take a look at old pictures from Varg. He looks so harmless, so wet behind the ears that you cannot shake the feeling that he only got into the whole "Black Metal attitude" in order to finally "look tough"! To be honest, if they should manage to bring this across in the movie then that could be a very good thing, because it would make Varg look much less tough!

Black Sun said...

Sorry but i’m not English.

This film risks to popularize Black Metal and to kill his magic as the bands of Deathcore made it with Death Metal…
This year is rich in event for Black Metal. Varg Vikernes went out of prison some weeks ago.

Varg is one of the most bigger and influential artists of the black metal which popularized this style. He is the inventor of the Black Metal Ambiant for exemple.

BUT Varg is also a white nationalist. This doesn’t prevent him from having many fans of other races who appreciate his music and who admire his personality. He’s very known in Japan for example and that explains why it’s a Japanese director Sion Sono which is going to make the movie Lords Of Chaos with Varg Vikernes.

I have several questions for you : would you be capable of going to a concert of Burzum knowing that Varg is a white nationalist who don’t like black people and knowing that you won’t have any problem in one of his concerts ? The glance of people who surround you is important for you ?
Are you capable of buying an album of a racist musician, even if nothing of its racist thoughts are retranscribed in his music? Make you the separation between the art and the thoughts of an artist?
Finntroll and Impaled Nazarene has very nationalist ideas for example. Many European and Scandinavian bands use the music as a patriotic support and as a means to make the apology of their roots, their inheritance and their culture.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Daredevil: I see what you mean but-I would rather they use someone that atleast knows a tad about the history of Burzum he's so...un Black metal but I suppose like you said that's the appeal. It would make him seem less threatening like he wanted to be all along though. I wonder how many twilight fans are going to see it just because he is in it *evil grin* What a shock for them.

@Black Sun: Excellent question. If I knew I wouldn't have any problems at a Burzum concert I would go (and if it was for free). I am used to being stared at so that doesn't intimidate me. I'm not a fan of his but I do think he is very interesting as a person and I've researched a good bit about him. Many people knowingly and perhaps unknowingly listen to artist who may have nationalistic and ethnically/culturally charged lyrics-I know I do but that doesn't stop me from loving such bands. But specfically NSBM bands I tend to stay away from. I don't believe in giving money to bands that hate me for existing. I don't support racist bands but I don't think being patriotic and culturally proud/nationalistic is a bad thing. Infact I support it.
There is a difference between nationalism and racism, wouldn't you say.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Blacksun: I forgot to add that I think they or anyone and everyone has a right to express their opinions through their art. I support freedom of speech and expression that doesn't mean that I, personally, have to listen or support their brand of artistic expression. I hope that came across well?
I tend to research the bands I listen to for those reasons.

Black Sun said...

Why i speak of roots, inheritance and culture ? Because the music isn’t only a sound. It’s also and especially cultural expressions of the soul of people.

Fenriz of Darhthrone (one of the first Black Metal band with Bathory, first Viking/Black Metal band...) for example has played in two Black Folk Metal band with cultural influences very very viking... many people don’t know it... but it’s important to understand Fenriz and Black Metal in general.

Storm : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMCvgDLH0yc

Isengard : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou3-KZo9AkQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXl90N2UxzY

Other bands to explain my previous comments :

Windir (more popular band of Viking Metal, the leader Valfar is died of hypothermia) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJLOGW8tC8

Korpiklaani : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIc4VHxU7iM

Glintertind : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBlixPMAkR8

Nebelhorn : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUl_0eyKJug

Falkenback : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MslNpGkiTdc

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Blacksun: Yes, I've heard of and listened to most of those bands.
But I'm confused. Are you trying to tell me that the bands that I like (which is alot of folk and viking metal bands)-confuse you on why I listen to them because they are very culturally and nationalistically inclinded?
If that bothered me I wouldn't listen to them.
The most simple answer is that i listen to bands that I enjoy and who I realize have tons of national pride.
Folk/viking metal just makes me feel good.
You also must understand that my view is sort of from an outsiders whereas someone who was born and bred in the culture is PART of that culture. I just appreciate it.

Blacksun said...

It’s difficult for me to speak english.

Yes and no... I say that it’s surprising to see a black girl being interested by a Scandinavian culture. Black people often focus on their own culture.

And what I wanted to say, this is that a music isn’t only a sound, but the extension of the soul of an individual who evolved in a particular cultural environment.

And to be affected by a music or by a sound, i think that this is necessary to understand it and to have been influenced by a culture and an environement particular. It’s the main reason for which there are more whites that blacks who listen Metal and specially Viking Metal, Pagan Metal or Black Metal. Scandinavian, Slavic, Celtic culture have nothing to do with the African culture. Do you understand ?

I don’t say that this isn’t to be interesting for you. I just say that these cultures don’t belong to the African culture and that this is why, it’s not accessible and understandable for many black people.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Blacksun: Your English is fine.
Anyway, I had another commentor who I assume was scandinavian who practically was saying the same thing you are now. I guess I don't know how to defend my stance on why I listen to metal anymore. I understand what your saying but I suppose I'm still trying to figure out what your point is. Tons of whites, asians, hispanics, etc around the world listen to Rap, Reggae, Traditional African music and don't really understand it or the culture and never will but listen to it anyway.
It's sort of what your saying that turns me off from some of the attitudes regarding metal and a black person listening to it just because its so exclusive.
But I understand and I hope you keep commenting and visiting the blog.

Dare Devil said...

Metal Fans perceive themselves as a minority. Well, in fact we ARE a minority! I mean, we are just talking about a music scene here, but you should still not underestimate the underdog feeling that comes with listening to Heavy Metal. This underdog feeling is also the reason for a certain feeling of togetherness against the dominating forms of music like Hip Hop and RnB. Most Metal Fans do simply not like these forms of music and shudder at the thought of being forced to listen to Hip Hop or RnB.

These forms of music are not just more popular though, they are also seen as Black music and THAT is the problem! While most Metal Fans would never exclude a Black person who happens to like Heavy Metal, there are also those – I still think that they are a neglectible minority – who are suspicious of Black people who are into Heavy Metal. This may be particularly true for the Black (oh what irony…) Metal scene because of its Northern Europe pagan influences. I can imagine that many Black Metal fans find it hard to imagine that a Black girl can relate to songs about Odin, Thor, Vikings and the fight against Christianity. Heck, some of them already find it difficult to understand how I as a Christian can listen to Heavy Metal, but it is not as if I cared. ;)

Lainad said...

Hi;

My name is Laina and I'm a 'black metalhead' from Toronto Canada. I'm also a journalist ( I write for a few metal mags / websites) and I am working on a book on black women in Metal. I'd love to chat with you about the project. You can email me at l.dawes5068@rogers.com and / or check out my blog: www.lainad.typepad.com.

Thanks!

BlackSun said...

Dare Devil : “Metal Fans perceive themselves as a minority. Well, in fact we ARE a minority! I mean, we are just talking about a music scene here, but you should still not underestimate the underdog feeling that comes with listening to Heavy Metal. This underdog feeling is also the reason for a certain feeling of togetherness against the dominating forms of music like Hip Hop and RnB. Most Metal Fans do simply not like these forms of music and shudder at the thought of being forced to listen to Hip Hop or RnB.”

Yes and not. It’s already difficult to express it in my language, but then in English...
Well, let me try to be clear.
Many metalhead reject hip-hop, not only because this music symbolizes nothing for them, but also because it inspires them absolutely nothing.

On this subject, there are several currents in Metal music. Hardcore, Punk or Grindcore for example are styles of Metal which are inspired many of the urban culture, societal and economic problems contrary to the heavy metal, which do more appeals to the imagination, to the dream, to the journey, to the folklore.

Conversely, Black Metal was born in an environment particular and very different from Hardcore. Its subjects, Its aspirations are as well differents. It’s thus logical to find in Black Metal a public particular, very different from Nude Metal or from Hardcore (Sick Of It All, Korn, Limp Bizkit). You understand ?

So much I can understand a black who listens to some Metal as the Nude Metal which is inspired by an urban culture, so much a black who listens to some music which draws its inspiration from the European paganism, the pride of an European inheritance surprises me much more.
Another thing, contrary to the Pop Music, Black Metal, it’s a philosophy, a principle of life, to see a faith, it’s a "inhabited" music which doesn’t limit itself at a sound.
Black Metal is more than a music.

See a black girl who listens to Pagan Black Metal, this is also strange that to see a white girl to play a African traditional Music. I don’t say that it’s bad. I just say that it’s not common.
Very often, the individuals become attached to the culture of their origins, that they are white or that they are black

“I can imagine that many Black Metal fans find it hard to imagine that a Black girl can relate to songs about Odin, Thor, Vikings and the fight against Christianity.”

Yes because the environment and the affinities which ensue from it are radically different.

Shawn said...

"Male dominated. Sweaty. In your face. Brutal. Head Banging. Mosh Pits. Screaming. Aggression. Where would gay fit into any of this?"

To me, that sounds big-time something gay guys would appreciate. For a lot of us, we get a real charge out of being aggressive males, since men being into men is what male same-sex desire is all about.

And there is apparently a huge queer rap/hiphop scene, but of course you're right that it has been shunned by the mainstream.

BlackSun said...

Nu metal lol... not Nude metal. Sorry.
Nobody understood what I said ? The cultural codes of Nu Metal, Hardcore Metal and Black Metal, Pagan Metal is radically different. The public is also very different. At " the black girl into heavy metal girl (i don’t know your name), you are very intelligent. I admire your individuality and your independence. You are taken away enough from the dominant doxa when you say : « I don't support racist bands but I don't think being patriotic and culturally proud/nationalistic is a bad thing. » or the article on Michael Jackson. Remain as you are. You can be proud of it.

Anonymous said...

Luke said...
to Black sun, I'm white so I'm allowed to like black metal, aren't I special? But you wouldn't challenge me on my musical preferences just because I'm Australian and know nothing of scandinavian culture, there ain't no digeridoos in black metal, so why the double standard???? You challenge this girl saying "there's nothing african about black metal" yet to me you would say nothing, just my view on the subject, it sounded really really racist to me.

BlackSun said...

No, it’s not a question of race but culture. And everybody can listen to the music which he wants, it’s not a problem.
What I say, this is that the music isn’t only a sound but also a culture emanating from a context, from an environment cultural particular.
People are going to appreciate Black Metal, not only because they like the sound, but because they were been influenced by a cultural environment which will facilitate their taste and their affinity.
For example, Black Metal is far less popular in Australia or in the USA than in Europe. It’s a reality. Why to your opinion ? To like a music, I think that it’s essential to have lived in a particular cultural environment. I don’t say that it’s always the case. I just say that it’s often the case. We cannot appreciate what we don’t know or we don’t understand. You must be curious and opened to appreciate what doesn’t emanate from your culture. It’s my opinion.
It’s the main reason if Death Metal is far more popular in USA than in Europe. It’s also the main reason if Black metal is far more popular in Europe than in USA.

Anonymous said...

luke said...
yeah I get it kind of, but what kind of narrow minded jerk doesn't like any culture other than their own? I went to Japan 7 years ago for exactly that reason, I like japanese culture, the food, the anime, and samurai?, who the hell doesn't just love the idea of samurai? It's engrained in our DNA, there's a primitive part of all of us that can't not love the idea of living in a tribal way, whether it's samurai or vikings, or even mongols, listen to the first song from the album "spirit of mongolia" by ego fall and tell me you wouldn't just freaking love mongolian folk metal? Of course despite the fact that YOU ARE NOT MONGOLIAN, SO YOU SHOULDN'T LIKE IT!!!

blackSun said...

Everybody can appreciate the Japanese culture, it’s evident. However, the Japanese culture is difficult to understand for the one who has never lived in Japan.
And I think indeed that to appreciate really the Japanese culture, it’s important to have lived in a Japanese environment.
For Viking, Celtic, this is similar. To appreciate really the Viking or Celtic culture , i think it’s important to have grown in this culture.
That is why we find few Japanese who like the Celtic or the Viking music.
That is why we find few Scandinavians who like the Japanese music.

BlackSun said...

Japanese don’t love the foreigners. They want to protect their culture and they are well right.

Anonymous said...

luke said...
I just think you're wrong, you place way too much importance on this idea of being part of a culture to appreciate something, in real life people just aren't like that, human beings have an in born desire to explore and discover things, you can try and protect your culture all you want, but I'm going to come in there and discover it, and I'm going to take away the things that I like about it, and I'm going to bring it home and expose it to people, so that they may discover and explore new and interesting and exotic things.

and maybe at lot of people DON'T discover and explore new things, because they have been conditioned from an early age to not have that instinctive drive anymore, for the purpose that specific things can be packaged and sold to them, and that's very sad, for those of us that still have inquisitive minds, yes, there ARE Norwegian people that like Japanese music.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Luke: Took the words right out of my mouth. Black sun, I do understand that an outsider to a culture can never truly understand the culture itself or for that matter the music but thats not going to stop someone from TRYING to get an understanding and/or appreciate the music.
And I disagree only with what you say about people not appreciating a type of music thats outside their culture when it happens all the time. If I was born in say, Norway, but was a black person-would I have a better understanding of celtic/viking music being born in the culture yet not being Scandinavian? Would it be better than, say, an American born person of Scandinavian descent? Doesn't that sound strange?
I guess thats why I can better understand where Luke is coming from.

BlackSun said...

Luke : « yes, there ARE Norwegian people that like Japanese music. »

I correct : There are very few Norwegian who like Japanese music. Why ? Because their environment have conditioned them.

TBGIHM : “Black sun, I do understand that an outsider to a culture can never truly understand the culture itself or for that matter the music but thats not going to stop someone from TRYING to get an understanding and/or appreciate the music.”

No, but it explains very well why there are very few people who don’t arise from this culture, who like this music.

TBGIHM : “If I was born in say, Norway, but was a black person-would I have a better understanding of celtic/viking music being born in the culture yet not being Scandinavian?”

Yes i think. It depends on your environment. If you would have been educated in a Norwegian family which has a Norwegian culture, I think.

Your culture, you owe it essentially to the education of your parents and to your environment.

Anonymous said...

luke said...

that's fair enough black sun, but your views just seem antiquated to me, they would make more sense if the internet were never invented.

FluffyIsKewl said...

I know this an older post but i just wanted to say something. I am half black, half indian. I listen to death metal, black metal, and doom metal. I do listen to NSBM like burzum and gorgoroth. To me as long as the song has nothing to do with racism im fine.
The whole movie thing with a twilight guy playing varg, if this is true, then black metal is going to go a long way downhill.
I think your friend should tell others that hes gay, because the longer he keeps it hidden, the more complications there are going to be. Gaahl being gay, some people don't care, others dislike it. I personally don't care wether he's gay or not.

And I don't understand why you say Varg is very "un black metal".

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Fluffy: I was referring to Jackson Rathbone being unmetal, not Gaahl.

Lenyu said...

so true!

ROB HALFORD
Metal Legend
who is gay and fabulous, yes!
I sure as hell wondered why metalheads started wearing all this BDSM gear the leather, the spikes? same as you, thinkin' with all the machismo bullshit

Thanks to our man Rob Halford, baby

I know many gay metalhead/punx, but I am from Da Bay where SFC is gay capital of the USA, and homeboys love to wear "GOD HATES FAGS" t-shirts. Hahaha!

P.S. I like your blog. I just randomly found it. Dope! :)
You seem like a chill girl, keep on keepin' on...

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Lenyu-Lol, yes indeed he is gay and fabulous.
And thanks for the compliment as well as comment. Welcome!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon this blog randomly and skimmed the post without reading comments, so I'm a bit 'out of my element' as they say. My opinion is that being gay has NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on someone's 'metalness' or respect of other metalheads. Look at Rob Halford. All that matters to a metalhead (a true metalhead, which tries to avoid hipocrisy and is fairly well educated) in terms of respecting another human being is whether that person is being true to themselves. Anyone who is true to themselves gets respect from the true metalhead.

Anonymous said...

Justin
heh, Im a black Guy who is into Black metal. (With out it being satanic and anti-religious) With that alone people find very odd, not to mention race. ANd I get tons of crap from my parents saying that I need to act more black. Well, currently I am learning how to speak norwegian. "Jeg foler meg Trett"
I just find it wierd that the metal community goes against itself at times.

Bill said...

As a guy that has been into this kind of music for at least 30 thats right 30 years I can say that most of us just dont care what race you are as well as how you swing sex wise. It is all about the music.

viagra said...

I agree with Bill, it as about the music, not the race, or sex preference, I believe this is not so common because normally heavy metal musicians are not that open to media, and prefer to have their lives aside from the spot light.

Anonymous said...

HAILZ! Wolverine here from the Georgia Metal Alliance International Heavy Metal Club. About gays in metal, I don't know of many, but our Rhode Island Chapter President is openly gay and married to a guy for the last 10 years. And he's into some of the most extreme death and black metal bands out there. Really cool dude! So that along with Rob Halford and Gaahl just comes to show you that it's all about the music--the sexuality is something that they just happen to be into. Like I always say, whatever floats your boat, go with it!

Anonymous said...

I'm a 57-year-old black Canadian rocker dude-MOST ESPECIALLY heavy metal and garage band rock!!!

Anonymous said...

My favorite bands are mostly NSBM: Burzum, Absurd, Graveland ..


Anyone know if Old Blood of Spain are NSBM?, thanks

Anonymous said...

Wearing makeup is not Metal (except for corpsepaint and its not gay and ppl dont wear it as regular clothing style

Leather pants are not meant to be tight in the metal community
Any tight pants are gay

Anonymous said...

You have heard of Pink Steel, right? "Gay Heavy Metal At Its Hardest" pinksteel.com

MisanthropicTerrorist said...

I just dislike Gaahl for fucking up Gorgoroth. Pest, ftw!

Anonymous said...

I'm a a black girl into Metal too. Just wanted to say that I like your blog, I read some interesting perspectives. Its been a few years since I've been to a concert, because I'm a mom now. But I never let being of color stop me from doing whatever and going wherever. I even met Rammstein and hung out with them in NY. I hope all people will follow the music that moves them and don't allow the narrow minded to get in their way. Fist up for METAL.......Melonee

Anonymous said...

I'm a gay, pagan metalhead. I guess I qualify for severe outcast ranking. The only gays in heavy metal I know are: Pink Steel (not really THAT metal), Rob Halford, and Roddy Bottum. I find it sad that people think you need to live under a culture to like music from said country. I'm American, but I love the melodic death metal coming from Scandanavia (not sure if I spelt that right). Sonic Syndicate was a badass example. If you need an example of gay heavy metal, go look up "Be Agressive" by Faith No More. I went to school blasting that song. The looks on kids faces were hilarious. Great idea for the day after I came out.
Go ancient Egypt/Kemet!

Grim said...

Hey, my name's Grim and I kind of just stumbled on this journal entry and read through some of the comments. I don't even know if you still read/respond to this, but I figure I might as well post something anyway?

I've been having a lot of trouble with all the machismo in metal. I'm gay, and I really really love metal. I recently went to a show in Seattle where there were two gay couples being openly affectionate, and even that many was very surprising. Nobody messed with them, but they were all pretty big and tough-looking, so I dunno if that had an influence in how they were treated, haha...

I'm white myself, so I can't say firsthand how I feel about BEING a person of color in the metal scene, but the vast majority of the people at metal shows I've been to are white. When I go to those shows, I get kind of uncomfortable, because I know that there are a lot of horribly racist people who go to metal shows, and there are a lot of people who mark ALL metalheads as being horribly racist, so I get uncomfortable being a part of something that's gotten such a bad reputation.

It is really rough being gay in the metal scene, too, especially because I've seen so many male metalheads who were these huge closet cases. It seems so silly to me, because it seems like it'd be a hub for gayness (sweaty, frequently good-looking men thrashing around, ahaha), especially since so many metalheads want to go against what's "normal" or whatever.

About Scandinavian metal: I love it, really a lot. But there are aspects of the cultures in the Nordic countries where people don't think about their role in colonialism, because they really weren't much of a part of it to begin with, and they don't make the connection that it doesn't matter if they or their ancestors "did" anything to people of color. It can be hard to keep in mind how isolated a lot of them are, and have been, from people who aren't white. They sometimes think they're exempt from white privilege or something (and they even have a huge problem about exploiting their own natives, the Sami, and they're primarily white too).
But bands like Finntroll, Korpiklaani, etc., are about trolls eating Christians (Finntroll), and Sami/Finnish traditions/myths (Korpiklaani). Yes, they are very proud of their culture, as Scandinavians are, but I don't think it has any indication of racism.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

Grim: First, welcome to the blog...even if my updates are really sporadic.

Anyway Grim, I don't know how it feels to be a gay metal head, but I do know how it feels to be a metal head period. And as you know any one that deviates from the norm is at some point persecuted and ridiculed for it. But when you find that community of people that GET you, be it at a concert, among peers or hell, this blog, it sure is a relief knowing your not the only one. Bottom line is no matter what you do there will be people who will hate me for being black or hate you for being gay. Are we supposed to never go out? Never enjoy our lives because of this?

Its a rather suffocating thought of constantly believing someone will say something to you. But I think you'll feel better not hiding. And, you don't have to be extroverted about it but if someone asks if you gay. And you respond. They can either a.) punch you b.) argue and question you c.) or stop talking to you.
It's interesting because I think of these situations when I'm at shows but the worst I've gotten thus far is some stares and snickers.

Don't let other people prohibit you from living your life. You can't please everyone but you have the ability to please yourself. Hee hee, I agree that it would seam to be a hub for gays considering the contributing factors. But there lies Metals biggest taboo. A community that prides non conformity but also adheres to the opposite.

On Scandinavians: As for that, I have no problem with someone being proud of their heritage (white, black, latino, asian, etc) its just most of the time people start getting racist about it, you know? I don't think they are racist or anything. Just nationalistic, again which isn't' bad. I wish Africans had the same sense of nationalism they had to be frank. *shrug* If you mention race to extremist, you know how they get. But to any normal human being its not biggie.

Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

The female singer in Fall of Emotions is gay.

http://www.facebook.com/fallofemotions