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Henry Rollins
Stands Up Against Prop. 8 

Henry Rollins
Stands Up Against Prop. 8 


Henry Rollins has never been one to shy away from controversy. On the eve of Election Day, the outspoken singer-comedian-activist speaks out against Proposition 8, touts Barack Obama, tells the Pat Robertsons and Sarah Palins of the world to go back to the Stone Age, and urges LGBT people to "never relent."

Henry Rollins once quipped, "If you are cynical, you're just not listening. Our job is to confound and enrage The Man."

In this high-stakes political season, there's certainly many a "man" to enrage. Just before Election Day, Rollins, the unabashed author-musician-radio personality and Grammy-winning spoken word artist, fiercely opines about all things political with He also joins the ranks of high-profile celebs -- including Ellen DeGeneres and Brad Pitt -- who are speaking out against Proposition 8, one of the most highly contested issues on the California ballot, which would ban same-sex unions in the state. is it important for you to speak out against Prop. 8?Henry Rollins: I think it's incumbent on any sane Californian to vote against any kind of hate against any human being. When you get down to it, [Prop. 8] comes from some very hateful, ignorant beliefs. It's not coming from anything that makes any sense. It's nasty and un-American, really. Anybody that respects life and people's freedoms, Democrat, Republican, it should not matter. And it makes me angry that people spent money outside of California to try to bedevil this thing. It's just appalling. But in this day and age, I am not surprised.

Were you familiar with the Briggs Initiative [California's Prop. 6], 30 years ago, which basically set out to fire homosexual teachers? I remember that, and also Anita Bryant being homophobic. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and there was a significant gay population, and in school, by the time we all hit puberty, we saw that we had gay classmates. The way I was raised, I just didn't care. Whatever you were, you were. Next topic, you know? I never understood homophobia. I always thought it was restricted to idiots -- dumb-ass boys in high school. But when I saw Anita Bryant, I went, "Wow! So much for America, land of the free, home of the courageous."

It's great to hear you speak out against Prop. 8, but you've always been outspoken, no? It's all about where I come from; the country I am in. I think when I work I feel like maybe Thomas Jefferson is tapping me on the shoulder and leading me on. But I think for people who'd like to get married, I say, "Best of luck." But for me, I just think all marriage is a completely unreal and unbelievable, really. To say I have to split everything in half if something didn't work out ... it doesn't really work for my Ramones collection, you know?

What are you most excited about in 2009? Well, I would like to see a different kind of administration in the White House. I think if we've seen one thing about this election, it's knowing that Republicans cheat. And I am not that old politically, but I do remember when a Republican and Democrat could make a few talking points and address their differences. But the argument was never about anything you felt like you wanted to punch the guy's lights out about. And it's descended into this thing where we see McCain so desperate now. It's just so fuckin' sad. The more I learn about McCain, the more there is not to like, as far as I am concerned. But I get the sense from him that maybe he's thinking, Man, I didn't want it to go this way. He says one thing and does another. He's not a maverick -- at all. And so you can see how he is coming across in this campaign and how Obama, who is running against him, has a level of decency. And I want the decency back. I want the polarity in this country between Republicans and Democrats to back off.

It has been one of the most contentious races. And all this "Watch out for the scary black man!" It's all bullshit. It's awful. It's just playing guilt and bringing hell back into the great American discourse. It's something that has brought in millions of dollars from the religious right in the last eight years. I want all this to change. I want all the Pat Robertsons to go back the fuck to the cave they came from and take their hostages with them. And I want science to come back to the fore. That's what I am hoping to have happen in the next four years.

It's a good hope. But I am used to not getting what I want. So if I don't get what I want Tuesday, I won't be surprised, but I will not allow that to stop me from what I need to do. I will remain civically active and involved. That's what they want you to do -- give up.

You're saying that we should all become more involved? Well, the more things go south of where I think it's good, the more I get involved. That is what happens with me. I can say, "You've messed with the wrong guy; I will bring your organization down." I get more and more socially active the older I get. I mean, when I heard that Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann call for a revival of McCarthy-like hearings ... You heard about that?

Oh, yes. We have to start laughing at people like that and throw them back to the Stone Age where they came from. The fact that we have to endure Sarah Palin for a nanosecond ... What an idiot -- an awful, awful person. And her children ... I mean, to have a 17-year-old daughter have to marry her dumb-ass 17-year-old boyfriend. Star-crossed lovers they are not. They're dumb American kids who didn't get told how their parts worked because mom is an idiot. And having five kids ... while the world is starving ... I mean, this is not an example. I like kids, but having five kids is basically like saying, "Fuck you. I just don't care. I'll eat all the cake I want and people can starve outside my door!" So, yeah, I am looking forward to a different [political] structure in 2009.

So what do you think is the best thing that can happen for the LGBT community in 2009? I think lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders -- and all different bits of that acronym -- just need to keep standing up. Never relent. As we progress, as younger people become middle-aged people, there can be this different American culture where people get out there to vote for people like Barack Obama. And for people like me, with a microphone in front of them, we can speak out and all move forward. The wrong thing to do is to think we've lost our progress. It's an ever-evolving thing. Never relent. Never relent!

For more information on Henry Rollins,

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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