Following transphobic social media posts from Bloodstock’s director, Vicky Hungerford, the LGBT+ heavy metal podcast tries to explain why this was such a problem, with a lot of help from their audience.
Last week, Vicky Hungerford, the director of Bloodstock Open Air, the UK’s biggest metal festival, used her social media account to tweet about how anyone who included their pronouns in their email signature could expect her to put their emails in the bin. Hell Bent For Metal discuss this on their latest episode, “#50 – Bloodstock, We Have A Problem”.
However, Tom and Matt decided that, while they had to talk about what happened and why it’s bad for some of this week’s show, they didn’t want to spend the whole show doing that. It didn’t seem useful or healthy to spend most of an episode discussing that unpleasantness. Instead, they decided they would rather spend as much time as possible relaying messages from their trans and non-binary friends and listeners about why pronouns matter, and why “pronouns in the bio” (and the like) can be so helpful.
The podcast was (unsurprisingly) inundated with messages following last week’s events, and even when people didn’t contact the show directly, HBFM’s friends, former guests, and listeners in general had plenty to say on the subject, and this forms a significant chunk of the discussion. While the hosts articulate what they can, a lot of the explanation comes from those people most affected by Vicky Hungerford’s words, whose lived experiences are far more informative than any opinions the hosts could offer.
That said, as much as they don’t want to, out of necessity Matt and Tom do chat about what happened after the first transphobic message. Because it got worse after that. They explain why Hungerford’s subsequent attempts to calm the ire she’d stoked only served to make things much worse, and why some of the apology was in and of itself prejudiced. The hosts also detail what they see as the way forward for a festival whose claim to be a welcoming, inclusive festival has been tarnished.
It’s a difficult discussion for both hosts, who have been quite public about their love for the festival, and how they’ve felt the crowd made them feel welcome and safe. But it was a necessary one, nonetheless.
After all the heavy stuff, though, there’s still a visit to HCGBs at the end, because Tom and Matt wanted to cheer themselves – and you – up. So there’s some fun with ‘Vengeance’, the new album from Australian… basically indescribable and undefinable band Twelve Foot Ninja, who manage to lift the mood quickly, even if no one can quite work out what they are. There’s also some hefty melody with ‘Vision’, the new EP from patient Swedish post-metallers Blodet. Because nothing counters heavy stuff better than… er… more heavy stuff, apparently.