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The discovery of metal is a special moment in a headbangers life; whether it is the album that changed you, the song that helped you get your first guitar, or the band that inspired you to join and/or form a band.

I was trying to make it as a pop singer in Toronto. I left my small town in Nova Scotia, moved to the “big city”, joined a top 40 cover band, performed live, branched out, wrote and recorded originals, and maintained a life of singing.

As a female singer I struggled being heard. Everyone talked about “my look”, what I should wear, how I should dance, (even that I needed to dance to be a pop singer), but no one seemed to care what I had to say, and I became disillusioned with music.

My anger took a life changing turn when I was at a Mötley Crüe show. I realized how badly I did not fit in. Women were nothing more than sexual objects on stage and on the big screen of live footage with groupies showing their tits and ass for a band video.

What set me off was the “tittie cam”. When Tommy Lee started yelling at the Toronto female audience to “show us your tits” with vulgar harassment: “what the f**k is this, Ottawa?” due to our reluctance to oblige, I left. And I left the show alone.

Eventually and thankfully I heard Ronnie James Dio with Black Sabbath, Dave Mustaine with Megadeth, and Bruce Dickinson with Iron Maiden. With this introduction I realized how much I missed in my life! I couldn’t believe that lyrics with such intelligence, vocals with such power, and sound with such emotion had been around without my knowing. I began to be infatuated.

I fell in love, at first bite, with Megadeth live. When the audience sang in unison, “If there’s a new way/ I’ll be the first in line/ but it better work this time”, I never looked back.

This is the music that changed my life.

Heavy Metal, Masculinity, and Me: sexuality, gender, and grassroots activism.