Will Young has got candid about feeling ‘shame’ for attending Pride parades after many years spent feeling “wrong and bad and evil”.
The 42-year-old singer went to his first Pride parade in 2014 where he said he was able to “undo the brainwashing” he had undergone in his youth.
He explained that music bosses had tried to keep him in the closet, telling YouTube Originals: “People did try and sort of initially shut me out but I’d been through too much pain to get to this stage to own it for myself.”
Will added that growing up he did not get to see a lot of “representation” which made him feel “not normal”.
He explained: "The antithesis of Pride is shame. I have to remind myself that I’ve grown up in a society — fair enough it was different times — but from a very young age where I’ve felt wrong and bad and evil actually.
"And I didn’t see any representation and so a lot of shame is foisted upon people who do feel different and “not normal”.”
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He added it is important for “people who do feel any sense of difference to look at and find the power, however they can and whenever they can, to give that back because you weren’t born with it.”
"It took me a long time. Undo the brainwashing! That’s a big part of Pride I think," he added.
Will sat down for the honest conversation for YouTube Pride, a huge virtual celebration for Pride Month.
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He said that the Pride events were vital not just for fitting it but also for “talks, it's about education, it's about enlightenment.”
The star has previously opened up about struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, writing in his autobiography that he used to pleasure himself on trains when he felt “ashamed”.
He admitted he started doing this because he was feeling "more and more frustrated" with his identity.
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Will wrote: "That summer, I started pushing the boundaries as far as I could. I noticed in the tube station in Victoria there was a newsagent that had gay porn mags.
"It seemed odd that this particular shop had them, as I had never seen them in a newsagent before. It took me a few weeks to build up my courage, but one day I went in and purchased three of these magazines.
"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: the shopkeeper would make some comment or judgement, and people in the shop would point and stare at me.
"Even after buying the magazines, I felt that everyone in the tube station knew what I was up to. It was a mixture of terror and guilt. When I got to the train to take me back to the countryside and to home, I went to the loo and looked through the magazines.
"I went quickly through them and then squashed them into the bin before I got off the train so that there was no evidence."
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