The former American Idol star was giving a talk to young LGBTQ+ people at London's Mosaic Centre last week when he shared his own views on growing up gay and coming out to his parents after graduating high school - and later moving to Los Angeles.
"It felt like I had finally been able to let go of something; that was a relief," he said. "My little brother said: ‘Oh finally, I feel like I can really talk to you now. It felt like you weren’t being totally yourself, you weren’t being totally honest with who you were. Now I feel like your not hiding anything.’ It definitely improved my relationships."
He also spoke about his experiences of online bullying after appearing on American Idol. "After American Idol, I was suddenly out of the bubble of the L.A. theatre world and the nightlife world, and put in front of the masses of middle America," he said. "All of a sudden, I was really experiencing real ignorances were for the first time. I received [homophobic] comments online, and there was pushback from the label because my first album cover was a little much. I did a performance on the American Music Awards where I kissed a guy – there was major controversy. I was told “You did a lot of damage to your career with that.” I stuck to my guns, though. I thought: ‘I’m not apologising. Fuck that.’”
You can read the full transcript of his talk here.
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