Alex Skolnick Credits Rob Halford’s ‘Gay Leather Gear’ For Redefining Metal Fashion

According to Alex Skolnick, Rob Halford was influential in heavy metal fashion with his ‘gay leather gear.’

One user on X shared two photos of Halford from his earlier days with Judas Priest and wrote:

“Rob Halford defined the metal aesthetic by wearing his gay leather gear and just not telling anyone it’s his gay leather gear, making him one of the most powerful gays in history.”

Skolnick reposted this tweet by sharing two photos of Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne and said:

“Rob Halford’s leather look was straight out of gay shops in SF’s Castro, West Hollywood, London’s SoHo etc & redefined metal fashion (unknown to 70s/80s fans – not always known for tolerance at the time), Respectfully, it was a big improvement (case in point: Black Sabbath, 1974).”

Dee Snider’s Reaction To Skolnick

After seeing the guitarist’s words, Dee Snider reposted his tweet and wrote the following by including a KISS photo in his message:

“Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but KISS were flat-out studded leather when they hit the scene in 1974. Pretty sure they were straight…just sayin’.”

Skolnick responded to Snider’s post:

“Hi, Dee Snider! True… In the case of KISS, (credit to Gene/Paul/Ace/Peter for my entire entry into hard rock & guitar period) it felt a bit more theatrical/kabuki/glam/sci-fi, while bondage element – spikes, studs, chaps, leather caps – feels more Rob/Priest. But fair point!!”

Rob Halford’s Words On Becoming Openly Gay In Metal Community

Halford became the first openly gay metal frontman in the ’90s. He previously told Metal Hammer that he was proud of breaking stereotypes about gay people in the metal community. But he doesn’t see himself as a gay icon:

“Just because my sexuality isn’t considered to be the norm, it seems to always carry a bit of extra media interest. I’ve never been approached by any of those kind of publications because I think heavy metal is still viewed by the wider media as still being this very macho, male environment, and the gay media still treats it with some detachment.”

In March, the Judas Priest frontman also discussed with Global News’ Adam Wallis the challenges he faced hiding his sexuality due to fear of rejection and backlash in the metal scene. He mentioned widespread homophobia during his early career, which forced him to conceal his identity. Eventually, the metal community accepted him.

You can see all the tweets below.