Halford - who shocked fans in the mid-1990s by subtly announcing his sexuality during an MTV interview - has never once regretted the risky move that threatened to alienate much of his following.
And the GRINDER star is urging other gay heavy rockers still in hiding to follow his example.
Halford credits his brave coming out with helping secretly gay rock fans to realise they're not freaks destined to "burn in hell".
He says, "A lot of cool things happened because of it. I've had feedback from a lot of people, particularly teenagers who were going through tremendous hardships with family and at school.
"I know when I was 12 or 13 I was thinking, 'Oh God, I'm a freak, I'm gonna burn in hell,' and all that c**p - and it's a horrible experience to live through if you don't have support.
"But looking at the bigger picture, I'm not the only metal homo. There are many more statistically speaking. And they can stay in the closet or come out, it's entirely up to them. I feel proud that I'm the first person to do it on that level."23/02/2005 18:02