Name: Troye Sivan, 22
Who He Is: Pop star extraordinaire
Why He Matters: Sivan became one of the youngest LGBT artists to experience crossover success in music while living openly since the start of his career. His humor, sincerity and uncompromising openness have made him a role model to Gen Z–and the world at large.
Why We’re Proud: Times have changed, as Troye Sivan attests. Whereas other LGBT pop artists—Elton John, Ricky Martin, k.d. lang, Sam Smith—have experienced major chart success with their music and charisma, none have done in whilst being totally open about their sexuality. For most, that courage came later.
At 22, the South African born, LA-based Sivan has already had a huge helping of mainstream success, even landing a coveted spot as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
Sivan has also spoken out about how seeing portrayals of LGBTQ people and same-sex relationships in the media inspired him to live without fear. His own videos feature totally open and queer relationships at the fore, with Sivan flirting with no shortage of handsome boys and men. He’s the anti-*NSYNC, a charismatic young singer who knows he’s channeling a gay vibe. He even penned a song allegedly about bottoming, for goodness sake. Even better, Sivan is actually excellent: his electropop songs have a sensuality about them which make them suitable for dancing, easy listening, or a make-out session or five (trust us).
This year, Sivan takes an even bigger gamble for mainstream acting success, appearing in Boy Erased opposite Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman. More importantly, though, Sivan’s early success make for a powerful sign of the times: LGBTQ artists can live out loud as never before, even at a young age, and without suffering blowback in sales or in prominence. The first single off his upcoming album Bloom, titled “My, My, My” has already gone platinum on the charts.
There are so many queer performers these days even homophobes have stopped taking notice. Now that’s something for which we can be proud.