In a Billboard interview, out
singer Darren Hayes credits Adam Lambert for increasing LGBT support
in pop culture.
The 45-year-old Australian singer was
the frontman of the pop duo Savage Garden until its breakup in 2001.
The following year, Hayes released his first solo album, Spin.
Hayes, who entered a British civil
partnership with Richard Cullen in 2006, told Billboard about
how he learned about his sexuality.
“The first time I consciously knew I
might be gay was sometime during promotion for the first Savage
Garden album,” Hayes
said. “I was traveling the world and meeting obviously gay
men, or men that were gay, but didn’t fit the small stereotype the
media had portrayed to me. I remember thinking maybe I was gay but I
didn’t do anything about it. At my Australian record label I recall
having what I thought was a secret crush on an advertising executive
named Justin. I thought no one knew.”
“My publicist at the time got me
aside and bluntly asked me, 'Are you gay?' I was so taken aback. I
showed her my wedding ring and said 'I’m married!' and she said,
'How come you blush every time Justin walks in the room?' It was the
first time anyone had ever seen behind my facade, exposed something
so secret that I didn’t even admit it to myself.”
“That’s when the conversation
started, and truthfully it was a painful journey. I didn’t want to
be gay. I loved my wife, we were trying to have children and I knew I
was going to lose the fantasy of a white picket fence and the family
I wanted that I’d never had as a child. It was a year of marriage
counseling and conversations with our families before we realized I
had to live a different life. I came out before I’d even held a
man’s hand, let alone kiss a man!” he added.
When asked, “What do you think was
the most groundbreaking event in pop culture that has helped this
shift towards LGBTQ acceptance since 2000?” Hayes answered: Adam
Lambert on American Idol.
“Hands down. He smashed down the door
of the closet. I loved Adam’s image. It was an extension of his
sexuality. It was bold and unapologetically theatrical. He expressed
himself loudly, dramatically, and did not give a damn whether it was
palatable to conservative values. I loved that he wore makeup, nail
polish and experimented with his hair. He didn’t have to come out
because he was never in. I think his success proved you can be out,
proud and successful by beginning your career presenting yourself as
authentically as possible,” Hayes said.
Hayes currently has two comedy podcasts
– The He Said He Said Show and We Paid To See This –
and is writing an original musical.