How the world has changed. Asking a gay man in the 60's who were his role models, you might have received a blank stare for your pains, or, at best, a reference to Oscar Wilde or Leonardo da Vinci. Or, if he was young and in touch with the pop scene, David Bowie might have got a mention.
Nowadays, every field of culture has its visible gay icons, from , amongst a huge list, David Hockney or Ian McKellen in the arts, Gareth Davies or Tom Daley in sport and dear old Sir Elton keeping the flag flying for the many out gay pop stars.
Leading lights among the youngsters include Sam Smith, Frank Ocean, Olly Alexander and, a relative newcomer, Aussie actor and pop star, Troye Sivan.
Sivan was born in Johannesburg, South Afriica. His family moved to Australia when he was two years old and he now lives in Perth. A high profile YouTuber, child actor and singer, he is quickly establishing himself as a queer icon for the millennials. It's a role that he does not take lightly.
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter came out in a 2013 YouTube video, since viewed over six million times. In various recent interviews, Sivan has opened up even further about his sexuality, though there’s one thing he wants to keep private: his relationship status.
“I feel like I share everything about myself, like everything,” he said. “That’s the one thing – I should keep something to myself.” Calling relationships “so weird,” he added, “You care so much for that person and you become best friends, and then it seems so abrasive to me that people break up. That concept. The whole idea of it. As someone who is just starting to venture into romantic endeavors, that’s been a very strange thing I never thought about before. People get hurt, and that’s something I’m learning.”
Quizzed on his own sexuality, he quipped, “Fun. Is that weird? Fun is how I feel. Fun is kissing boys and kissing girls sometimes. I can do whatever I want, and no one will bat an eyelid. Sivan, who was raised Jewish, also spoke about his song “Heaven,” which he wrote about being gay in a religious upbringing. It was a process he now calls “very therapeutic.”
“It was me thinking about how hard I try to be a good person and then feeling like, before I even opened my eyes as a little baby – because I think I was born gay – I was a sinner,” he said. “All of those are very standard, but very confusing and hurtful conversations that you have to have with yourself as an LGBTQ person. Those kinds of songs mean a lot to me.”
Now a music sensation, Troye exploded onto the international pop scene with his critically acclaimed album Blue Neighbourhood. The album depicted a revolutionary cinematic trilogy for three of its songs, following the same-sex relationship and hardships of two childhood friends who evolve into star-crossed teen lovers.
The video also featured Matthew Eriksson, who starred as Troye’s fictional love interest in Wild, Fools and Talk Me Down. Matthew, too, has revealed in his own words how he feels Blue Neighbourhood made an impact on both his life and the often homophobic world we live in. Born on the Northern beaches of Sydney, he's another character with a big future. Another Aussie icon on the making? Just watch this space.
As for Troye's music, if you have somehow yet to encounter his poignant songs, join the many tens of millions who got there already and start with the video below. You won't stop there.
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