Attitude editor praises Will Young for talking about ‘gay shame’

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Matthew Todd, the editor of Attitude magazine, has praised the singer Will Young for talking openly about his problems of embracing his sexuality.

In a comment piece for the Guardian, Todd said the remarks by the singer came at a time when bigotry against LGBT people in society could be clearly seen at this week’s anti-equal marriage rally in Birmingham.

In an interview on Monday, Young said: “What I’ve realised is that growing up knowing I was gay from a young age [meant] I always felt extremely ashamed. It’s a cliché but it’s true.

“I’ve only just realised how shit that’s made me feel about myself for a very, very long time”.

Young also said that his problems affected the way he thought about sex: “It never moved into sex addiction. For me, it was love addiction and fantasy. I was probably addicted to porn”.

In response, Todd wrote in the Guardian that: “Young has touched upon something that is incredibly common among LGBT people – internalised shame.

“Shame inflicted on gay people, especially when growing up, can lead to all sorts of compulsive behaviour.

“These are problems that are by no means exclusive to gay people, but for which the process of growing up gay provides fertile ground”.

Todd said it was wrong to assume that self-esteem issues to do with sexuality could only affect a person in their younger years:

“Many gay people will dismiss the idea of shame that lingers into adulthood, but the negative messages are so pervasive, we aren’t even aware they are embedded in us.

“Even the simple act of saying goodbye to a loved one at a bus stop can trigger low-level shame – do we kiss goodbye with a peck on the cheek? Is it safe, is the other person OK with it?”

Todd also said: “These issues have remained hidden among gay people for years. The gay scene, like the rest of society, can barely comprehend that you can have too much sex”.