“All my friends were hooking up with random people at parties, and I just felt so left behind because I didn’t know gay people, I didn’t know where to meet gay people.
I didn’t really want to venture out by myself and so I just did stuff that a 17-year-old boy shouldn’t really have to do.
I managed to get a fake ID and then I got Grindr on my phone and started to try to meet people who were like me, but you sort of are forced a little bit into these hyper-sexualized environments, and even though that’s awesome when you’re 17… I didn’t know what else to do.
My heart must have been going a million miles an hour. I don’t remember specifically but, because I was always so small, I was so scared to meet up with people because I was like, ‘I’m going to get killed, I’m going to get murdered by someone.’
When I see photos of myself, from when I was that age, and I think of the guys that I was meeting up with and talking to, I think: ‘Wow, I looked really, really young.’
[It makes me feel] Kind of a little bit creeped-out, but at the same time I really don’t have any regrets. Maybe I wasn’t ever truly scared, just really uncomfortable.
There’s actually a song about it on the album called ’17’… Originally the chorus of the song was ‘Here he comes, like he just walked out of a dream, doesn’t care that you’re 17’. And I was like ‘uh, that sounds a bit predatory’, and maybe it was a little bit.
That’s what I mean, it’s like, I’m not looking back at those experiences in a negative or a positive light.”