Positive People: Growing Up, Gifted & Gay

Positive People: Growing Up, Gifted & Gay

After recently pointing out what’s so positive about Irish entertainer Graham Norton, you might be surprised to hear that once again I’ve chosen to highlight and celebrate the qualities of a gay man.

As straight as I am, my respects will never stop being paid to any people who have lived unnecessarily difficult lives within the LGBT community. When arguments begin regarding gay rights in society, simple actions that lead to total equality have always received the thumbs up from me.

And now, with my personal blog, I can’t help but find that the talent of one young pop culture icon is shining so damn bright… You see, I’ve met the guy, and as much as I hate to sound like an obsessed fan I know we started a good friendship that neither of us damaged.

But this guy’s big, and his rise to fame means that I’ll need to boost my own status greatly if I’m going to contact him. But his great presence in the music industry never fails to inspire me, and I can’t wait for the day I get to reunite with Years & Years vocal frontman Olly Alexander.

Olly Image 3
Years & Years live at the Shepards Bush Empire in London | Image shown by Drew De F Foulkes on Flickr

As you might remember, I’m somewhat of a Mancunian, born and bred, but anytime I got to see Olly was via a trip down to his parent’s home in the Forest of Dean. His mum and my mum were good friends who wanted to catch up, and up until I reached my teen years this system worked pretty well during a few weekends when were both growing up in primary school.

Yes, it’s true: I was a really good kid. And from what I remember, so was he.  Whenever down in South Wales I was friendly enough to catch-up with creative mastermind Oliver Thornton, having fun with him and his big brother Ben. I don’t think we got into much trouble either.

A Turn for the Worse

The reason we stopped talking was that when I started high school, I had a new, independent social life: I made new friends; gained an interest in girls; began listening to punk rock and nu metal. I didn’t take any more trips with my mum to see her friends – my time wasn’t there.

And although I was happy to receive updates on offer about the other teenager, I now know that Olly’s life wasn’t as easy as mine. I enjoyed my teenage years in education, but homophobia walked his way, and he was unfairly bullied throughout high school.

I can’t say that I know everything about what that was like for him – but why not follow my steps, and watch an upcoming BBC documentary? Growing Up Gay is set to be released on BBC 3, and Olly recently told his Twitter fans how he feels very excited and fortunate to be joining young people on their journeys battling issues that parallel his own.

Years and Years of Hard Work

Olly is now a powerful voice on mental health, bullying and LGBT+ rights – and from what I remember of him, he’s playing the role perfectly. As modest as he was, his dedicated interests in music and drama started so early, and I never disagreed with my mum when she complimented the gifted side of him while driving back up north to Sale.

Olly Image 1
Image Shown by Krists Luhaers on Flickr

But he had to work hard to prove his abilities. I know he relocated to the USA at quite a young age, deciding that acting seemed more accepting of his abilities, to begin with. Of course, when a bass guitarist hears your unique voice in the shower, you just know it’s for a good reason: Years & Years are now a huge Electro Pop band. Although it’s not my first-choice genre, I can only say that I like their catchy work, nodding along to many tracks off their debut album Communion – and I’m certainly not alone.

Time is on our Side

Knowing now that Olly’s dealt with depression only makes me want to shake his hand more because I think after tricky times we could reunite, catch up, and really appreciate each other. We’re both open-minded, ambitious, and have plenty of career time ahead to use with dignity. Although I’m a writer and he’s a musician, it still feels like we’ve both come out in similar situations, after being born naturally with challenges to manage in the modern world.

We’re both still young, and it’s impossible not to truly respect an old childhood friend turned pop culture icon. I only hope I can grab a bit of his attention as I try and match his credentials in the many years to come.

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