August 7, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Olly Alexander’s “Growing Up Gay” Tackles Homophobia, Depression

“You cannot underestimate shame,” says Years and Years frontman Olly Alexander, who, despite having made a name for himself as a singer, actor, and gay advocate, struggles with mental health issues and body dysmorphia almost around the clock.

Though, for most queer people living out in the open, it’s never a case of “in spite of.” It’s “because of.”

In Alexander’s new BBC documentary, “Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay,” the singer goes in-depth about his past struggles as someone who, to deal with the pain and pressure of bullying, resorted to self-harm and bulimia as a teenager. Sadly, it’s a common enough story for LGBTQ+ kids raised in the strict, homophobic British school system and all over the world. When it comes to the shame society doles out, says Alexander, no one is immune.

“Your first introduction to your sexuality is that it’s wrong, and that you have to hide it,” he says. “The moment shame creeps into your life from a really young age, for LGBT people, the moment you realize you’re different from everybody else, that plants this seed of toxic pain and it just grows and grows and grows…as you get older.”

Alexander talks to kids across England about their experience with bullying, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. He supplements the interviews with extensive research, citing studies on the effect of bullying for teens and young adults, including a new study by Stonewall whose findings showed that half of all LGBTQ+ teens face bullying at school. While this statistic doesn’t come as a surprise, it does call to attention the fact that, despite growing numbers of suicides, the culture at large has become somewhat blase about at-risk youth, taking the bullying trends in stride as a kind of inevitable “coming of age” marker. For many kids, however, the victimization is real, and very avoidable should schools at any point choose to acknowledge the problem and put money into education and prevention. Through meeting with teens who have experienced abuse and ostracization at the hands of their classmates, Alexander explodes the myth that bullying has to be the norm for kids who read as ‘different.’ He also discusses the danger of drugs and drug culture as a seductive, highly dangerous escape route for gay men struggling with their identity. Alexander sites a recent study by Imperial College finding that at least twelve people die each day in London from overdosing on chemsex or “G.” 

“I’ve had friends who aren’t here anymore because of it,” he says. “And if one more person goes that way, I can’t. It’s not right.”

“Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay” is part of the BBC’s acknowledgment of the 50 year anniversary of the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967, which decriminalized gay sex acts between consenting adults.

Related Posts

CancerCare Offers Online Support to LGBTQ+ Community

August 5, 2020

August 5, 2020

CancerCare helps individuals, families, caregivers and the bereaved cope with the emotional and practical challenges of cancer. Its free services...

Frank Oceans Youngest Brother Killed in Westlake Village Car Crash

August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

Ryan Breaux, the 18-year-old younger brother of Out Hip Hop & R&B singer Frank Ocean, who came out as bisexual...

Ellen Degeneres Show Scandal

August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

The host herself Ellen Degeneres and top executives at Ellen Degeneres Show are under internal investigation by WarnerMedia after accusations...

The LGBTQ Center Long Beach Makes Some Changes

July 29, 2020

July 29, 2020

For more than three decades, The LGBTQ Center Long Beach has provided a variety of health, social, advocacy, legal, and...

Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement Demands Justice for Muxe Burger King Employee

July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

In response to the death of Angela Martinez Gomez, a Muxe identity employee at a Burger King in Santa Monica,...

Man Faces Hate Crime Charges After Heated Altercation in DTLA Bar

July 21, 2020

July 21, 2020

Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney, announced charges against a man in connection with a “heated altercation” at Las Perlas...

WeHo Makes Efforts to Help Its Businesses and Residents

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

With the Coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc across the world and many businesses unfortunately succumbing to the lack of business. The...

Glee Star Naya Rivera’s Body Found

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

On Wednesday July 8th at 1pm 33 year old former Glee Star Naya Rivera and son, 4 year old Josey...

Why is Covid-19 being compared to HIV? – E.P.I.C Pride show 7/15/20

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture.* Covid-19 and HIV how society is giving them...

LA Pride Leaving West Hollywood

July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

Christopher Street West announces LA Pride will not be in West Hollywood By Sam Catanzaro Christopher Street West (CSW), the...

Local Leaders Celebrate Supreme Court LGBT Discrimination Ban

June 16, 2020

June 16, 2020

Supreme Court votes 6-3 in case Bostock v. Clayon County, Georgia By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles-area leaders are celebrating the...

City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City One Pride’ LGBTQ Arts Festival

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Features a ‘virtual platform’ for arts and cultural events: May 22 through June 30 By Staff Writer Each year, the...

North Hollywood Gay Latino Bar ‘Cobra’ Closed for Business

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Instead adopts virtual entertainment method By Toi Creel The effect of COVID -19 has not only taken a toll on...

LA Pride Pulls out of Black Lives Matter March Facing Backlash

June 10, 2020

June 10, 2020

LA Pride organizers face backlash after seeking police permit By Sam Catanzaro L.A. Pride will not be involved in an...

Requiring CA to Collect Data on COVID-19’s Health Impacts on the LGTBQ Community?

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Currently, California collects data on COVID-19’s impacts on different races/ethnicities; SB 932 would expand this data collection to include the...