How Gay Culture Influenced The Metal Music Scene

I never forgot it! It was back in my 1980’s Lake Howell High School years. (That’s in Central Florida.) When I mentioned I liked Prince, what did metal-heads say?

“Prince is gay!”

Yet, their metal heroes were the most masculine dudes in the world.  In the 80’s, real men wore tight leather pants and makeup.

Real men like Motley Crue.

80s motley crue

How about some Poison?

Poison 1980's

Christians jumped on the bandwagon, too!  I didn’t forget Stryper.

Christian Metal Band Stryper

Borrowed from

While we’re at it, let’s dig up Twisted Sister. (For the record, that’s the name of the band. Not the lead singer. Just like Alice Cooper was originally the name of the band, and not the singer.)

80s heavy metal band Twisted Sister

One more, there was even a time Pantera looked like real men. Observe the pretty hair.

pantera glam hair

As the reader can see, when metal-heads called my favorite musician gay, their heroes were the most masculine men in the world.

Thinking about this now, I always remember the story about Rob Halford,  lead singer of heavy metal group Judas Priest.

Rob Halford

For decades, Mr. Halford sported leather and studs. Many metal bands took on this look. (Observe the Motley Crue pic.)

Back in 1998, Mr. Halford came out of the closet. As for his look? He got it from underground gay culture.

gay leather culture

Yet, back in the 1980’s, many metal-heads didn’t know that.  They didn’t realize one of their heroes actually looked like a member of 70’s disco group Village People. A group who sung about fun at the Young Men’s Christian Association. Also known as the YMCA.

Village People leather guy

Even the term “heavy metal” has gay origins. I shall quote a line from gay writer William S. Burroughs. This is from his novel The Soft Machine, the first mention of the term.

“With their diseases and orgasm drugs and their sexless parasite life forms – Heavy Metal People of Uranus wrapped in cool blue mist of vaporized bank notes – And the Insect People of Minraud with metal music.”

Y’all saw that Uranus reference, right?

A gay man influenced the metal look. Also, a gay man first coined the term “heavy metal”. I guess this is why instead of “heavy metal”, the music is now just called “metal”.

Understand, I have nothing against metal music. It’s just that ignorant folks irritate my scalp worse than dandruff. Oh yea, apparently, the metal music scene
still has a homophobia problem.

But what do I know? I’m just a bitter, middle-aged, black man who wouldn’t know shit about music stolen…I mean heavily borrowed from black musician Jimi Hendrix.


Nope, I don’t know shit. Let me return back to my Prince music.



About Patrick Scott Barnes

Most of Central Florida knows Stone Crazy (Patrick Scott Barnes) as a poet. Yet, he also photographs, DJ and blogs. The rest of the time, the now sober blogger guzzles Diet Coke in Central Florida nightspots.
This entry was posted in music and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.