Pop star Lance Bass has admitted that he used to join in with teasing gay kids at school to hide his own sexuality.
The former N SYNC singer, 31, has been speaking out against homophobic bullying after a spate of suicides in young gay men.
During an interview, TV host Larry King said: “You made fun of gay kids in high school to hide your own secret?”
Bass replied: “That’s right”.
He added: “When you’re 13, 14, you just go along with what the other people are doing. You just want to fit in. You want to make sure that your friends like you. So yeah, you’re going to crack jokes, you’re going to laugh along with it. And when you’re a teenager, you’re not really thinking, ‘Oh, I’m being a bully by laughing along with it.’
“You think, ‘Okay, a bully’s just someone that can physically go and harm someone for being short, for being black, white, whatever’.
“But you know, you’re also a bully by condoning the behaviour and making the jokes along with them… I mean… it’s definitely to impress your friends… I think that’s the main reason people do bully, is to look cool in front of your friends. But you’ve just got to realise you’re not being cool at all. I mean, it’s the stupidest thing to do.”
Bass, who is now known as an entertainer and producer, came out in 2006.
In a message to gay young people, he said: “They don’t realise that in a few years that all goes away. It all gets so much better… You will leave those people behind and they won’t have anything to do with [your] life… Life gets so much better.