The brave new wave of gay male pop stars, from Lil Nas X to Troye Sivan

It was a second that may go down in gay historical past. 

There was Lil Nas X dwelling his midriff-baring reality throughout his performance of his No. 1 hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” on the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” final month.

Surrounded by six male dancers carrying nothing however do-rags and a smile from the waist up, the Georgia-born rapper slithered round a stripper pole in leather-based chaps.

It was a pointy flip from “Old Town Road” straight onto Christopher Street and smack dab within the center of Go-Go Boysville. Breaking a longstanding if unwritten taboo, it introduced gay sexuality from the underground to the mainstream proper there on broadcast TV.

Now, as we rejoice Pride Month, Lil Nas X and the brave new wave of younger gay male pop stars are extra seen and visionary than ever, making proud and provocative statements about their sexuality. Proving that that is their time to be their genuine selves — uncompromisingly, unapologetically and unambiguously — they’re boldly waving the rainbow flag for generations to are available in music’s LGBTQ motion.

Elton John and Years & Years' Olly Alexander performing
Years & Years’ Olly Alexander carried out “It’s a Sin” with Elton John ultimately month’s BRIT Awards.
Dave Benett/Getty Images

Lil Nas X had been constructing to this type of cultural second ever since he very bravely came out in June of 2019, in the course of the peak of his “Old Town Road” success (the Billy Ray Cyrus collab that topped the Billboard Hot 100). He was simply 20 on the time and was an up-and-comer within the notoriously homophobic hip-hop world.

Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan took half in the course of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in March.
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But whereas it’s lengthy been acceptable for feminine pop stars to intercourse it up to the bounds of censorship and even flirt with girl-on-girl motion — bear in mind the gay-for-play second with Madonna kissing each Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on the 2003 MTV VMAs — this type of unbridled homoeroticism by a gay man most likely would have been onerous to think about even just some years in the past.

It’s an enormous half of the rationale why LGBTQ icons from Freddie Mercury and Elton John to George Michael and Ricky Martin struggled with their sexuality earlier of their careers. And whereas Mercury died of AIDS-related issues in 1991, John, Michael and Martin didn’t reside out loud as gay males till they have been already veterans whose stardom was larger than their sexuality. 

Freddie Mercury
Queen’s Freddie Mercury died of AIDS-related issues in 1991.
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Thankfully for Lil Nas X, he doesn’t have to be “the only one” on this game-changing journey.

After starring within the HBO present “It’s a Sin” — which chronicled the beginnings of the AIDS disaster within the UK — Years & Years singer Olly Alexander carried out the Pet Shop Boys tune that impressed the title of the sequence with John ultimately month’s BRIT Awards. It was a duet that bridged generations of gay historical past, the sort of torch-passing second that maybe 74-year-old John by no means thought he would reside to see.

Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean has defied the sexual norms in R&B.
AFP by way of Getty Images

Then there may be 26-year-old Troye Sivan, who, after popping out publicly in his YouTube vlog in 2013, delved into gay intercourse and love on his final album, 2018’s “Bloom,” in a means that didn’t depart any doubt concerning the gender of his affections. On “Seventeen,” he even sang about having his sexual awakening with an older man. Then in 2019, Sivan launched Go West Fest with Charli XCX to rejoice LGBTQ artists throughout Los Angeles Pride. 

Grammy-winning singer Sam Smith uses they/them pronouns.
Grammy-winning singer Sam Smith makes use of they/them pronouns.
Getty Images for iHeartworkMedia

Likewise, Frank Ocean has refused to play it straight since breaking out of the field together with his Grammy-winning debut “Channel Orange” in 2012. (But hey Frank, we’re nonetheless ready on some new music…) 

Sam Smith‘s 2019 “How do You Sleep?” video showed the singer alongside a troupe of shirtless men, a far cry from the more conservative style displayed on the star’s 2014 Grammy-winning album, “In the Lonely Hour.” A number of months after the video dropped, the UK-based crooner adopted the pronouns they/them “after a lifetime of being at war with my gender.”

Adam Lambert performed at the OutLoud: Raising Voices festival last weekend.
Adam Lambert carried out on the OutLoud: Raising Voices pageant final weekend.
Getty Images

And you may ensure that, after seeing his Queen alternative Adam Lambert headline the OutLoud: Raising Voices pageant throughout Los Angeles Pride final weekend, Freddie Mercury is smiling someplace. 

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