In a brand new interview with the Pioneer Press, JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford spoke about what it’s like to be an openly gay man in America circa 2018. “Where do I start?” the singer, who splits his time between the U.S. and England, said. “I knew I was gay when I was 8 or 9. I’ve been through a lot. Stonewall in New York, many, many similar things in England. It’s been a fucking slog. When I was a teen coming to terms with it, I thought when I was an old man, all of this will be forgotten, the color of your skin, your orientation, your religion. Boy, was I wrong.

“With the current administration, it doesn’t look particularly healthy right now. On the other side of it, (much has changed) so we can reach this level of equality. There is still a hell of a lot more to be done and it’s taking forever. Sometimes it’s like one step forward, two steps back. But these types of challenges only make us stronger, you know?

“When I walk out on stage, the last thing I think about is that I am a gay man in a heavy metal band. And to me, that is a victory. There’s something to be said about standing there and not saying a word. On the flip side of that, I make a hell of a lot of noise on that stage.”

Halford, who revealed he was gay 20 years ago, also talked about the importance of coming out, saying: “When people realize they know gay people, it makes them confront their own intolerance and homophobic tendencies. They’re the ones who have to deal with it and face up to their prejudice. That is a win/win situation. We win every time.”

During a 1998 interview with MTV, Halford addressed the subject of his sexuality publicly for the first time, telling the music channel: “I think that most people know that I’ve been a gay man all of my life, and that it’s only been in recent times that it’s an issue that I feel comfortable to address, and an issue that has been with me ever since recognizing my own sexuality.”

JUDAS PRIEST‘s latest album, “Firepower”, was released in March via Epic.