Judas Priest: Russian Officials Told Us Not to Make Gay References

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday October 2, 2014

The British metal band Judas Priest said this week that Russian officials told them that they were not allowed to make references to gay rights during their 2012 concert in St. Petersburg, Russia, Pink News reports.

When the band played the city two years ago, they were warned by the mayor's office not to make any references about LGBT rights, according to the group's openly gay frontman Rob Halford.

According to the musician, the Judas Priest obeyed the mayor's office demands, but said he thought that the fact he was even in Russia was a political statement.

"When we played in St. Petersburg recently, the mayor's office told us not to make any references to gay rights," Halford told Mojo magazine. "But I wouldn't have wanted to do that anyway. I'm not an activist, but just me standing on that stage in that very homophobic place was a victory. I didn't have to go on waving a rainbow banner. I am the rainbow flag of metal. I consider it a triumph, just the fact of us playing there."

Halford came out as gay during an interview with MTV in 1998.

"I think that most people know that I've been a gay man all of my life, and it's only been in recent times it's an issue that I feel comfortable to address ... something that I feel has a moment, and this is the moment to discuss it," the musician said.

He later that year, he talked to the Advocate about his decision to come out and broke down crying.

"It's a wonderful moment when you walk out of the closet. Now I've done that and I've freed myself," he said. "It's a great feeling for me to finally let go and make this statement-especially to The Advocate, because this magazine has brought me so much comfort over the years. Obviously this is just a wonderful day for me."