Lance Bass is definitely not alone.
The day after the 'NSYNC singer publicly revealed that he's gay, fans have voiced overwhelming support for him. "I'm not ashamed," he told People magazine in the issue that hits newsstands Friday (see " 'NSYNC's Lance Bass Reveals He's Gay: 'I'm Not Ashamed ... I Don't Think It's Wrong' ").
And as far as fans are concerned — at least, the ones who've written to You Tell Us — they're cool with it. Bass' announcement has shocked many, eliciting cheers — and a few tears — from supporters.
"As an 'NSYNC fan for eight years — literally half my life — I was shocked when I heard the news, and I did cry," said Taylor, 16, of Richmond, Virginia. "But even while I was crying, I knew I loved Lance all the same, just in a different way now. I support him completely, and as much as I admired him before, I respect him immeasurably now."
"It is a little jarring to see someone I had a major crush on when I was in junior high come out of the closet," agreed Rebecca, 20, of New York, "but going by the articles and the things he's said, he's really happy now, and that's all that matters. I'm really happy that Lance is able to finally be himself without having to hide anything."
For some fans, the time may have come for them to stop hiding as well.
"I just want to let him know that what he has done has encouraged me not to hide anymore either," said Paul, 19, of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
"I think that it was really a good thing to come out like Lance Bass did," wrote another reader, Hansel, 23, of Ozone Park, New York. "He is brave. ... I'm myself bisexual and I'm proud of it, but my parents don't know."
One gay teen who has already come out was impressed by someone of Bass' stature making such a declaration.
"I can't imagine how hard it must have been for Lance Bass, an international star, to come out," said Jarrid, 17, of Jonesboro, Georgia. "As a gay teen, I know that each of our own cases seems to be the worst and hardest there is, but the fact that he did it on such a large level, I truly admire him for doing this. Hats off to you, brother!"
A large number of readers said they believe Bass' announcement will not only spur others to admit to being gay, but it will make homosexuality more accepted in American culture. For one reader, though — Erin, 22, of Fort Wayne, Indiana — the news is having a much more personal impact.
"Lance Bass' story makes me so very happy," she wrote. "I am the daughter of a homosexual male. It kills me that my father had to hide who he truly was for 15 years. It makes me happy to see that Lance is happy and comfortable enough to tell the world who he is. In today's world, gay is becoming a norm. While many in the world may not agree, if we could all take the approach of Lance's grandmother, who loves him and accepts him no matter what, maybe we can become a more accepting world too."
A few readers, however, expressed discomfort over Bass' announcement. Some, such as Kyle from Texas, cited their religious views.
"I cannot believe America is letting this immoral thing come in," he wrote. "Lance [said] God is OK with [his sexuality]. Except if they read their Bibles they would see that in Exodus it says that it is an abomination for man to lay with mankind."
A larger number said Bass could have come out sooner.
"It's no big deal anymore that Lance is gay. If that's what makes him happy, then so be it. Why keep it such a secret?" said Nelson, 21, of New York.
Another New Yorker, Armando, 23, voiced a different type of criticism: "I'm happy for Lance that he came out, but for him to make a stereotype by labeling others like him 'SAGs' (straight-acting gays) is really uncalled for. Gay is gay, so why all the labeling of what type of a gay man one is? Keep the labeling to food and clothes and not a person's sexuality."
By and large, however, Bass has a wealth of fans who approve of the singer's decision. "I love this story," wrote Mona, 15, of Austin, Texas. "I think it's fantastic because it shows that Lance is happy with himself and that he is comfortable with who he is. It shows that it is OK to be gay and that there is nothing wrong with it."