Once upon a time, Michelle Shocked was universally regarded as one of the most politically progressive and active of rock artists, an outspoken supporter of an array of liberal causes.
She also embraced an ambiguous sexual identity. Once she made a joke about being up for an award with Tracy Chapman and the Indigo Girls, quipping that the honor could’ve been for “best lesbian vocalist.” In other interviews she expressed a desire not to be branded by her fans’ expectations as gay, straight or bisexual. She made clear that she viewed sexual typecasting as oppressive.
Then Shocked became a born-again Christian, and her pluralistic perspective appeared to change. That shift allegedly culminated on March 17 when, according to a number of news reports, Shocked stunned her audience at the San Francisco nightclub Yoshi’s when she blurted out, “You are going to leave here and tell people, ‘Michelle Shocked said God hates (gays),’ ” using a pejorative term.
According to other reports, Shocked also told the crowd words to the effect of, “I live in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”
Shocked’s outburst, and subsequent fan outrage, has caused several venues to cancel the singer-songwriter’s upcoming shows. Shocked always has reveled in her role as a cultural provocateur. But this time it looks as though her shock tactics have backfired badly.