Music has always been a safe haven for artists and listeners searching for love, acceptance, and freedom. It is not new news that the LGBTQ community has struggled to be accepted in the face of a society not yet ready to set aside hate and prejudice. Fortunately, the music industry has a community that is welcoming all with open arms. However, for the case of Years and Years lead singer Olly Alexander, things have not been easy. Olly released a statement that his manager urged him to stay in the closet during the beginning of his career.
“‘What business is it who you go to bed with? Do you really want to invite personal questions like that? Maybe it’s better to not say anything about your sexuality at all,” said his label rep.
Olly, who has been open with his sexuality since the beginning, ignored the advice. “I realized I needed to say that for my 15-year-old self. I needed to say to him, ‘Look, we are not hiding anymore,” he said in an interview with Alternative Press.
Clearly, Olly’s sexuality has not effected the success of Years and Years. “Sanctify”, released on March 7 of this year, reached number one trending on YouTube within just 24 hours.
Yes, our country has made incredible progress in the fight for equality. However, that fight is not over. Stories such as the one above prove that we still have a long way to go, even in the music industry. So what can we do? Keep supporting LGBTQ artists, singer-song writers, and bands. Show your support on twitter and during concerts. And if you’re a LGBTQ artist yourself, take comfort knowing you have a music family standing by you.