▲ Danica Roem, transgender singer from Repulsion, is Viriginia’s representative in the US Congress.Photo Screenshot from one of her YouTube videos.

Abraham Diaz

Special for La Jornada

La Jornada newspaper
Sunday May 24, 2020, p. 5

Heavy Metal is gay, regardless of who regrets it, because this powerful and thunderous musical genre has not only been nourished by various social and cultural expressions, beyond music, but has also embraced sexual diversity in its different orientations and gender identities, to integrate it into your community worldwide.

Perhaps it is a bit complicated to understand that metal – in almost all its currents, with its own dark and lyrical aesthetics, dense, even morbid, that sometimes fall into the macho – is a space for people with a different sexual orientation than the one Supposed to have everyone involved with this scene. Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the lead singer for the New York band Post-Black Metal Liturgy, recently performed as a transgender.

Through her social networks, the singer, who studied philosophy at Columbia University and contemporary composition with Tristan Murail (disciple of Olivier Messiaen), among others, explained that she has always been a woman and that her feminine identity has always been present, even before forming Liturgy, but remained silent for fear of social, professional and family rejection.

It is not the first case in which a member of the metal scene reveals his true sexual preference. The most talked about was that of Rob Halford, leader of the legendary Judas Priest, who in an interview for MTV in 1998 stated: I think most people know that I have been a gay man all my life. It was not easy for him, after joining the band, since he had to repress his sexual orientation due to fear of discrimination and being excluded from the group, a circumstance that led him to excess and on the verge of suicide in 1985.

It should be mentioned that Halford was the one who introduced black leather aesthetics to heavy metal: wristbands, jackets full of spikes and robes, tight pants and long boots, among other elements, which were taken from sexual fetishism and gay sadomasochism. The icon of that gender is one of the most influential figures in lesbian-gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture.

Violence and torture

In one of the most extreme and darkest aspects of metal, Gaahl, former vocalist and founder of Gorgoroth, one of the most controversial groups in Norwegian Black Metal, who stepped into prison several times for violence and torture, in addition to supporting the burning of Christian churches in that country, in an interview in 2008, disclosed their homosexuality.

This musician, whose sinister mind devised the Black Mass Krakow concert, in 2004 in Poland, where dozens of impaled sheep heads, nude crucified models, liters of props and pyrotechnics blood, showed the ideology of Gorgorth, who was crowned Gay of the Year in 2010 at the Gay Gala in Bergen (Norway).

Otep Shamaya, from the alternative metal band Otep, has openly declared herself a lesbian and is one of the leading activists for the recognition of the sexual rights of the LGBT community, and has invited its members to be proud of their preferences. Meanwhile, Keith Caputo, who was the leader of the Crossover gang, Life of Agony, in 2011, declared himself transsexual, to give way to Mina Caputo: I had to show myself as I am because I already thought about suicide; I abused all kinds of drugs hoping to die soon because I could not live as a man, because I knew it was not.

The American Marissa Martinez, born Dan Martínez –guitarist of the Grindcore-Death Metal Repulsion band–, is a trans woman who now heads Cretin, a group with whom, through music, she supports sexual diversity. Sean Reinert together with Paul Masvidal, joined the band Death in 1991, to record the acclaimed album Human, considered the first technical Death Metal. In 2014, they both went public with their homosexuality.

A particular case is that of Danica Roem, singer of the American Thrash Metal band, Cab Ride Home, and she is the first transgender person elected as the Virginia state legislative representative. Roem, who came out of the closet in 2013, is also a leading journalist.

In Mexico, Larva is the alternative metal band that does what they call gay metal, a kind of satire that seeks to inconvenience those who base their actions on stereotypes of what people may or may not be with the subject of their films and videos.

The LGBT community has had a historic fight for the claim of their rights; metal, with its inclusive ideology, has sheltered them, although it is still a subject that is not talked about much on the scene. This situation must be normalized, since, finally, music has no sexual orientation.