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Otep Shamaya Says 10-20 Musicians Privately Have Come Out To Her

As part of Pride month, Billboard has interviewed a few notable "out" LGBT personalities in the rock world including Cynic's Paul MasvidalOtep Shamaya, Life of Agony's Mina Caputo, Gaythiest's Jason Riveria and Dug Pinnick of Kings X. The interviews explored what it's like being out in the rock and metal communities and featuring some interesting quotes.

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Perhaps the most interesting, but not shocking, revalation was from Otep Shamaya, who notes that other musicians have come out to her and ask her for advice:

Have any musicians in well-known bands privately come out to you?
Yes.

About how many?
Probably, I don't know. More than 10, less than 20, maybe … That's usually the first thing people come and talk to me about, like, “Hey, you know, I've been with someone before, and thank you for fighting.” And they're very supportive, privately. It's nice, but I always say, “Thank you for trusting me, I really appreciate that. But please consider to let people know.” It's not a big deal. Why should it be a big deal? It's not, and they all say they'll consider it, but they're afraid of losing fans or they're afraid of their family. They're afraid of what it might do to them, perception of record companies and all this stuff, and they say they applaud me for my fierceness, [but] I don't see what I do as anything special.

Similarly, Mina Caputo noted how supportive the community was about her transition and even noted some surprising members of the community started flirting with her:

A lot of people have these preconceived notions about the hard rock, hardcore, metal scene. I find it to be, in my experience, very loving. Not this marginalized way of being or [narrow] perceptions. I have a lot of guys hitting on me, from rock bands, hardcore bands.

Are you talking about people in bands that are nationally recognized?
Absolutely. I won't out these people, because that's none of my business how other people want to live their lives.

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Has anybody in such bands privately come out to you since you've transitioned?
Yes. I had a few people, actually. Not just one. I wish I could say it, because these people are part of the problem. Because if these kinds of people, like if nine out of 10 Hollywood male actors would already fucking admit that they love transsexual women, the world would see the ladies like us in a very different light.

Meanwhile, Dug Pinnick notes nobody should force a musician to come if they are not comfortable with it:

I think they should fucking mind their own business and go out there and do what they think they should do. If they feel like they should get up on a mountaintop and scream it, I say, “Go for it.” Do it, and I'll support you. But don't tell me that I have to do it just because you think that I do. And I am very adamant about that.

I get really pissed when someone outs someone without telling them. A person has no right to publicly out someone if they are in their closet. When a gay person comes out and says, “I'm going to out you because you need to be out. We need more people out here. Our voice needs to be heard,” I go, “Well, find the people whose voices need to be heard. I'm using my voice in my own way.” I do not believe anyone should tell someone else how to live their life, other than they need to love one another and treat one another how they want to be treated themselves.

While all the musicians say that nowadays, fans are very accepting and there are very rarely incidents live, Cynic's Paul Masvidal discussed how he dealt with heckles of "the F word" in the past:

I’ve approached it different ways, depending on the vibe, but I guess I really don’t want to incite violence. Generally, I’ll say like, “Someone please, whoever said that, someone give that guy a hug or spend some time with them, because he’s obviously working through something, and if we could help assist you working through it, releasing this anger, let’s do it.” At the same time, if it feels really aggressive and nasty, I’m going to stand up for ourselves a bit more and say, “Hey, maybe this isn’t the right space for you and it’s time to leave.” I’ll offer that as well if I feel it’s somebody who vibrationally shouldn’t be in the room, which occasionally happens.

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