Judas Priest singer Rob Halford has definitely done his part to further the conversation around issues of tolerance and inclusion in metal, but he still sees a long way to go — and he insists he won't be happy until society can make its way to a place of complete equality for all people.

Halford shared his views during a recent interview with Noisey, acknowledging that he shifted the paradigm — and helped countless people — simply by coming out publicly as a gay man in the '90s. "I never really thought of the consequences," he shrugged. "Of course, the proverbial happened, it hits the newswires and it’s this big, big thing. As a result of that, you then get these beautiful messages back from your fans around the world saying that because you’re able to step forward and proclaim your sexuality in a strong way, in a proud way, that that’s helped them in life, and you go, 'Wow.' So as a gay guy in metal, I welcome this opportunity to reinforce that statement."

A lot has changed over the 20 years since Halford came out, and not all of it has been positive; as he put it, "these are difficult times for a lot of us." And although he enjoys a status of unique privilege in many ways, he added that "the battle goes on," musing, "I shall not be happy until I see equality across the board. That’s vital. I don’t think it’s right that there’s one set of rules for one individual and another set of rules and laws for another individual. That’s not the way the world should work."

As disappointing as some aspects of the way people treat one another might be for Halford, he definitely agreed that there are encouraging signs among the younger generation — some of whom he sees at Priest shows and among his social media followers. Overall, he seemed to sound a fairly positive note about where he sees these issues heading over the next couple of decades.

"A lot of my followers are younger metalheads," said Halford. "It’s so refreshing to be in the company of people that are more loving, more caring, and more open, and have a much better worldview and have a much better capacity for acceptance than a lot of people in the world do."

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