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The metal scene is marked by robust discussion of sexual orientation. Since the human sexuality analysis generally runs along the lines of “that band is fuckin’ gay,” it’s no surprise that metal musicians who self-identify as gay are difficult to come by. So difficult to come by, in fact, that our list isn’t so much the Top Five Gay Metal Icons as The Five Gay Metal Icons. If you know of any other out metal musicians, leave them in the comments.


5. Doug Pinnick, bassist for King’s X

Metal Cred: 1. More “contemporary Christian” than metal.

How He Came Out: In a 1998 interview with Christian Magazine Re:Generation Quarterly.

Why Gay Is Metal: Pinnick has since split from Christianity, and now chooses to identify as “agnostic.” Maybe he jumped ship because being gay isn’t Christian; maybe he did it because Christian isn’t metal. But if gay isn’t Christian, and Christian isn’t metal, isn’t gay kinda metal?



4. Otep Shamaya, frontwoman for Otep

Metal Cred: 5. Though Otep is often regarded as “nu metal” (alongside, unfortunately, Korn), Shamaya has said that her music is inspired by a traditional metal influence: aggression.

How She Came Out: Shamaya never “came out”—-she was always out and metal. “It never even crossed my mind why I should hide it,” she has said. “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.”

Why Metal Is Gay: Shamay’s music is so aggressive, it has at times reduced male metal fans to whining over sexism. Case in point: Shamaya’s track “Menocide”. “The lyrics of the song suggest men are ‘infectious human waste’ and that those who are oppressed should ‘give death to them’ and commit ‘menocide.'”



3. Roddy Bottum, keyboardist for Faith No More.

Metal Cred: 7. His name is Roddy Bottum, and you’ve got to respect that.

How He Came Out: Bottum came out in 1993.

Why Metal Is Gay: Bottum wrote”Be Aggressive”, a song about performing oral sex on a man. Despite easy-to-parse lyrics—-“I SWALLOW, I SWALLOW, I SWALLOW, I SWALLOW,” for example—-the song is still one of the band’s biggest hits.



2. Rob Halford, frontman for Judas Priest

Metal Cred: 10. For decades, Halford performed in the most popular metal band in the world while wearing an increasingly ridiculous succession of leather-daddy outfits. And metalheads were still shocked when he came out. What does that say about metal?

How He Came Out: In a1998 interview with MTV.

Why Gay Is Metal: “There are still stereotypes that all gay men are effeminate and weak and queeny,” Halford has said. “Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, which is why I think it’s unfortunate that that type of portrayal is still given to the straight general public. In my world, you couldn’t have anything stronger or more masculine and intense.”



1. Gaahl, former frontman for Gorgoroth

Metal Cred: 11. Don’t fuck with this guy. In 2006, Gaahl spent 9 months in prison for “torturing a man for six hours while collecting his blood into a cup and threatening to make him drink it.” Gaahl maintains that the blood-draining was performed in self-defense.

How He Came Out: Gaahl confirmed his homosexuality in metal magazine Rock Hard‘s November 2008 issue, after some detractors threatened to offer “information” that would make Gaahl appear in a “whole new light.” “It seems like I’ve pre-empted a few people. And for that I’m truly sorry,” Gaahl told Rock Hard. “My idea of art, and black metal especially, is the depiction of honesty without compromise. I really don’t care how other people react to it or the feelings it might provoke.”

Why Gay Is Metal: Gaahl is “strongly opposed to Christianity,” and purports to follow a personal philosophy he terms “Gaahlism.” Again: there’s nothing Christianity hates more than gay.