British pop star Will Young is opening up about the struggles he faced with accepting his sexuality and how he overcame his “gay shame” in his forthcoming new memoir To Be A Gay Man.
The 41-year-old singer writes that his sexuality was awakened through gay porn magazines, which he would purchase from a magazine vendor at a subway station “under a veil of guilt and shame.”
“It took me a few weeks to build up my courage, but one day I went in and purchased three of these magazines,” Young explains in the memoir. “As I went up to the till, the feeling of dread I had was almost overpowering.”
“I felt as though something awful was going to happen [like] the shopkeeper would make some comment or judgement, and people in the shop would point and stare at me.”
Young writes that he would then bring the magazines onto the train, go into the bathroom, and pleasure himself, before throwing them away “so that there was no evidence.”
This quickly began a routine.
“Slowly, I was finding my own sexuality through these magazines,” he writes in his autobiography. “The interesting thing was that it was done very much in secret and under a veil of guilt and shame, yet it was happening.”
While promoting his memoir, Young said he first opened up about his “gay shame” during an appearance on an LGBTQ podcast, which inspired him to explore it further in his work.
“Particularly when you’re growing up feeling that you’re wrong in society,” he said, “all the messages that you’re getting from movies and TV, this is back in the day, we’re much better now, but it creates this awful, internalized shame and it starts from when you’re really young, and it’s a topic that is quite unexplored.”
To Be A Gay Man hits stores December 1.