By Lauren Rearick
Coming out can be a difficult process, even for one of the biggest music stars of the day: Lil Nas X, who came out to fans at the conclusion of Pride Month 2019, revealed in an interview with CBS News that he hadn’t always felt comfortable with his sexuality.
While speaking with Gayle King of CBS This Morning in a segment airing October 1, the rapper said he first started exploring his sexual identity as a teenager. In the interview, King asked, “Did you know as a little boy that you were gay?”
Lil Nas X responded, “Yeah, definitely,” and went on to say that he initially kept his sexuality a secret. “I would just, pray and pray that it was a phase,” he admitted.
The Billboard record-breaking artist said he recognized that his role as a noted musician gave him some privilege in being able to publicly share his identity. “Me being in this position, it's easy for me,” he said. “Some little boy ten miles from here, it's not gonna be good for him,” pointing to the ways in which members of the LGBTQ+ community are still disenfranchised and forced to endure other people’s homophobic beliefs and actions in cities across the United States, and around the world.
Lil Nas X came out to fans on June 30 — the last day of Pride month — and pointed them to the lyrics of his song, "C7osure,” a track which detailed pursuing a better future. “Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more,” he tweeted. “But before this month ends I want y’all to listen closely to c7osure.” He later joked that he thought he made his sexuality obvious and pointed to rainbow-colored imagery used on the cover of his 7 EP.
The rapper later detailed why he chose that moment to come out; in July, he told the BBC, “It’s something that, you know, I was considering never doing, ever. Just taking it to the grave or something,” he said. “But I don’t wanna live my entire life — especially how I got to where I’m at, not doing what I wanna do."
Fans and celebrity followers of the singer had shared their support for his announcement, but it’s crucial to note that coming out should always be an individual choice and that the person making that decision feels safe and supported enough to do so. And with a current presidential administration that continues to threaten the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals daily, and a climate of continued hates crimes committed against LGBTQ+ people, Lil Nas X stressed that there’s still plenty of work left to do. He recognized that his decision to come out might have helped others feel seen and represented, but said, “We still have a long way to go...There's still a lot to be done, of course. But I do believe it's helping.”
"Coming out is just one of the experiences that can be difficult for LGBTQ+ youth, and seeing celebrities who share similar experiences — and the reactions to those experiences — can help young people know they are not alone,” Kevin Wong, head of communications for the Trevor Project, told MTV News. “Whether young LGBTQ+ people choose to come out to everyone in their lives, to a few close friends, or just to themselves, they are validated when they see their identities and struggles represented."
Coming out is ultimately an individual choice, and not everyone experiences the same safety or acceptance in doing sos. For individuals without a support system or those that need assistance, organizations like the Trevor Project, the Gay Center, GLAAD, the Trans Lifeline, and It Gets Better are available to help.
To learn more about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, head to lgbt.mtv.com.