Recently a friend of mine put up a post on facebook asking for experiences, thoughts, or opinions relating to the currently ‘hot topic’ of gay marriage. Wanting to create a play, in the tradition of forum theatre, around the subject she was after some real life testimonies or viewpoints to give a feeling of reality to the piece. Now I’ve had no experience of gay relationships myself, and do not have any very good friends in civil partnerships (although I do know quite a few in gay relationships) so I wasn’t too sure if I could contribute something to this – even though it is a subject which I feel very strongly about. Despite this it reminded me of something I’d read a couple of weeks previously which got my blood boiling and one which, frankly, I thought needed relaying as it’s exactly the sort of thing that could be useful. She asked for my input – here’s what I gave her:
There are some people in the world, no matter who you are you will come across them, who you like, respect and, in some cases, idolise until they say just one thing that turns your stomach so much that you no longer want to be associated with them. You may or may not have heard of Dave Mustaine, lead singer and lead guitarist of Heavy Metal band Megadeth and former guitarist of Metallica – in essence a key proponent of two of the biggest metal bands in history – a genre which is supposed to be all about love and community for the outsiders and misunderstood who don’t ‘fit in’ with others. If you’re a bit different, feel bullied or outcast or don’t like the way the world works sometimes you look up to people like Dave. Well, the problem is he’s the sort of person I’m talking about.
When interviewed in 2012 Dave was asked whether he supports gay marriage and his answer was, and I quote:
“Well since I’m not gay the answer to that would have to be no”
Dead. To. Me.
What the fuck does something like that even mean? Why is it so absurd to people like him that heterosexuals like me support gay marriage? You don’t have to be gay to be in favour of simple civil rights for all. When asked further if he would support gay marriage legislation he responded:
“I’m Christian. The answer to that would be no.”
I’m going to make something very clear right now, Christianity is not wholly to blame for the backlash against gay marriage, a lot of Christians cite the positive messages from the Bible in their support and I have a great amount of respect for them for that. It’s people like Dave who are the problem. People who use their religion as a crutch to prop up their conceited and twisted views on the world, as a mask to hide who they really are.
So let’s rip the mask off Dave, lets kick the crutch from beneath you so it’s actually you that we’re talking to. Let’s speak directly to the recovering alcoholic with a history of drug use that got him kicked out of the most alcoholic band of the 80s. Speak to the violent narcissist about how he really feels. Do you support gay marriage?
“Well I’m no fucking homo so no I don’t. It’s unnatural. While we’re at I’m not black either so back to the plantation. I’m also male so no more jobs for you ladies. I’m an American, so everybody who has come to America can fuck off right home to die in starvation and poverty and buy all of the shit pumped out by our industry. Sorry kids, everything you’ve ever hoped and dreamed about whilst listening to my music is bullshit. You’re going to stay ostricised, bullied, oppressed and assaulted as long as people like me continue to breathe. Here’s a guitar solo – choke on it”
Fifty or sixty years ago people acted like this about the rights of ethnic minorities and now we are rightly ashamed that those people were ever looked at as right. Years into the future, I hope our society looks upon this argument with the same amount of embarassment and asks themselves ‘Why was this even an issue?’
After some careful consideration I thought this might be the sort of thing I would like to share with the wider world and so it has wound up here on my pseudo-socially engaged Metal heavy blog. I know Heavy Metal and homosexuality do not often go hand in hand, I personally can only name the great Rob Halford off the top of my head as an example of a gay metalhead, but the point is that it’s supposed to be about understanding no matter who you are. It shouldn’t matter who you are or what your background is, the feeling of community that music gives can extend to everybody and the music of the downtrodden should be the most fundamental component of this.
You may think I’ve gone slightly far in my treatment of Mustaine with my cross comparison with race and gender debates but frankly if he’s willing to be this derogatory to homosexuals because he’s not one of them then that is unnacceptable and tantamount to saying the same thing about any different background. Tolerance is about love and understanding for people NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE and allowing them the same rights that you allow yourself.
Metal gets enough of a bad rap by people who assume (falsely) that it’s all about violence and hate. Bigots like Dave Mustaine aren’t fucking helping.
Rant over – this is what happens when I’m not just reviewing gigs.