Lil Nas X knew he was gay as a teen and prayed it would go away

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The reign of Old Town Road as number one has finally come to an end, but Lil Nas X cemented his place in Billboard history. But he didn’t just make news by keeping his song at number one longer than any other song ever, he made it when he came out right after he shot to fame. Nas talked to Gayle King about the road it took to get to that announcement, which included a childhood of praying that his feelings would just go away.

Did you know, as a little boy, that you were gay? Did you think that as a youngster, while people were telling you it’s not a good thing?

Yeah, definitely. I knew. Especially around my teenage years, I was just like, you know, praying, praying, praying that it was like a phase. Yeah, it would go away.
I mean because me being in this position, like, it’s easy for me, but some little boy, ten miles from here, it’s not going to be good for him.

But don’t you think, you coming out could probably help others who are struggling, the way you were struggling?

I think it’s gonna always help. You still have a long way to go. Because it’s not like, everybody messing with me now, because of course. But somebody who’s like, listening to me in school right now, it’s like “you gay cause you listening to him.” There’s still a lot to be done of course but I do believe it’s helping.

[YouTube via Towelrod]

Katy Perry also discussed trying to pray the gay away when she was younger. Katy is 34, Nas just turned 20 so it’s not like we’re talking about the dark days of yore. As Nas said, we’re talking about kids in high school right now who have been told their whole life the feelings they have are wrong. Plus, they’re praying to a god they believe will either grant their prayer or condemn them for all eternity. That’s a hard way to navigate life. And unfortunately, praying the gay away is usually a gateway for conversion therapy. Adolescence is hard enough without being told you are an abomination.

I like how Nas frames his discussions on coming out. He talks about himself, but he widens the scope to acknowledge the kid that is still closeted due to fear. Like his point that by his announcement, he inadvertently added to his fans being taunted as gay by association. I appreciate that when he’s given praise for what his coming out did for others, he redirects the conversation to how much work is left to do. Like when he tore down Kevin Hart’s BS incredulity that Nas was raised to hate homosexuals. He still made his point about why he came out when he was on top, but not before shutting Hart down by subtly reminding him that it was because of people like Hart that Nas didn’t feel accepted.

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Photo credit: WENN Photos

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8 Responses to “Lil Nas X knew he was gay as a teen and prayed it would go away”

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  1. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I am really of two minds about Lil Nas X. While I applaud his being open about his sexuality and his struggles I measure that against his own bigotry towards Muslims and… How can you be a role model and a champion of diversity and acceptance when you exhibit none yourself?

    • ME says:

      Wait what? Please fill me in. I haven’t heard anything about his bigotry towards Muslims. This saddens me.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Before he blew up he had written a series of bigoted tweets about Muslims. He has never addressed them or apologized for them. He simply deleted them when people started calling him out on it.
        I REALLY want to like this kid. I atill listen to Old Town remix with Billy Ray Cyrus. I want to support him. But as a Muslim myself and as a black woman I have a hard time swallowing these types of interviews. Because for me it highlights what a hypocrite he is. To be a black person in America is hard. To be a black gay person in America is hard as well. So why would you punch down on an even more vilified group of people knowing what it’s like in this country for marginalized groups?

      • ME says:

        Wow I expected more from him. So I guess he doesn’t practice what he preaches. Thanks for filling me in.

    • just a small town girl says:

      I agree that it’s not great of him, but I have a lot of empathy for being young and growing up in an environment like he did. It takes a lot to get out of the bubble of how you were raised and it takes time being exposed to things to realize how wrong you were. If step one is accepting yourself, step two is accepting others, and maybe he hasn’t gotten there yet.

      When you’re in your late teens/early 20s your whole world is evolving faster than you can imagine. An opinion at 19 is not necessarily the same opinion you have at 21, or 22. Your world view can honestly and genuinely change in six months. And if you grew up religious and bought into any of that, it goes doubly-so.

      So I have hope for it since at least he took it down which might mean he’s thought about it. If he says something crap about Muslims now I reserve the right to change my opinion, though.

      • Addie says:

        I’m so glad that my teens don’t have social media. if they say something inaporprate , and they have, I can correct them and show them why what they have said is wrong and offensive so they have a chance to correct that behavior. Social media intensifies everything and even if there is an apology issued people are not as forgiving and don’t believe in personal growth. It’s too much!

  2. HK9 says:

    Growing up in a Baptist church I get this. While I’m glad he’s come out, I’m sad that he had to go through that because living in that headspace as a teen is so isolating.

    • otaku fairy.... says:

      That kind of stigma and sexual gaslighting can be dangerous for other people down the road too when people are exposed to it at an early age. Because a person can internalize enough of it to the point where they spend a good chunk of their adulthood (beginning, or middle or end, which is an added layer of punching down) victimizing and oppressing members of their own group. Glad that didn’t end up happening to him, and that he got out of that headspace early. Some people never get out of it.