Legendary British metal band Judas Priest, and its out frontman have spoken out about being told not to make any references to gay rights during a gig in St Petersburg.

The band played in St Petersburg in 2012, and were warned by the mayor’s office not to make the references.

Frontman Rob Halford came out as gay in an interview with MTV in 1998, said the demands were made by staff at the mayor’s office before a gig in 2012, that the band played by the rules, but that he thought him even being there was a political statement.

Halford told Mojo magazine: “When we played in St Petersburg recently, the mayor’s office told us not to make any references to gay rights. But I wouldn’t have wanted to do that anyway. I’m not an activist, but just me standing on that stage in that very homophobic place was a victory. I didn’t have to go on waving a rainbow banner. I am the rainbow flag of metal. I consider it a triumph, just the fact of us playing there.”

A controversial, and now federally adopted law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations was first passed in St Petersburg, and several other cities and towns.