Back in the late ‘80s Michelle Shocked wrote and sang songs about female empowerment, endearing her to an entire generation of lesbians before k.d. Lang, Melissa Etheridge or The Indigo Girls came out. Her classic “Anchorage” from Short, Sharp Shocked, told the story of two women -- one who broke free from domesticity to pursue her dreams as a “skateboard punk rocker” and one who embraced marriage and motherhood. It was heady, thoughtful songwriting for the time.
Fast-forward to last night at a show in San Francisco where Shocked purposefully and blatantly alienated and offended her audience. “You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags,” she said to cap off an anti-gay tirade at club Yoshi’s, according to MEOW.com (Musicians for Equal Opportunities for Women). Audience members stormed out after the tirade and the club shut the show down, SFist.com reported.
"I live in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry,” Shocked told a jaw-dropped audience, according to SFist.
Shocked’s first set went without incident, but the second set appeared primed for her to deliver her hateful message, at least according to Christine Penfield, who’s husband Matt volunteered to live tweet the show from backstage for Shocked.
"In retrospect [it] seemed clear that she designed the show to deliver this message,” Christine Penfield Tweeted.
Other audience members also took to Twitter to express outrage at Shocked’s epithets.
— anile (@anile02) March 18, 2013
Responding to the outrage Shocked Tweeted, “Truth is leading to painful confrontation.”
Shocked, a member of the Pentecostal West Los Angeles Church of God, has identified as an anarchist, fighting the establishment, for decades, even being arrested as recently as 2011 at an Occupy L.A. protest, according to SFist.
Born into a fundamentalist Mormon family in Dallas, in 1990, Shocked spoke to the Chicago-based publication OutLines about her relationships with women, according to The Dallas Voice.
“I was with my first woman lover about a year and a half ago. To be honest, the real fear of coming out of the closet, not fear, but the real pressures of coming out of the closet had been if you had certain problems identifying yourself one way or the other.”
She later married journalist Bart Bull and stayed with him for 11 years until they divorced in 2004.
A 2008 interview with The Dallas Observer touched on the old lesbian rumors, and Shocked delivered a response that was a far cry from last night’s hateful rant.
Here’s what she told the Observer when asked about homosexuality:
“In his time, Jesus was hanging out with the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the lepers, all the people that proper society had banished or had determined were underclass. Today, it is easy for me to imagine that Jesus would hang around those who have been scorned, abandoned and neglected. We live in a homophobic society. But homosexuals are a group of folks who Jesus would recognize. Jesus even says that he didn’t come here to be righteous. He came here for those who needed salvation.”