Union J member Jaymi Hensley has said in an interview that he thinks “times have changed”, as girls now fantasise about One Direction being gay.

Hensley, 23, made the comments in an interview with Metro. He also said that he thought his coming out had made no negative impact on the group’s sales.

He said: “Look at the One Direction fan fiction – they’re fantasising about One Direction having gay affairs with each other. Times have changed. I haven’t read it but it sounds hilarious. Girls are fantasising about them being gay when they’re not; in the past, the situation was completely opposite.”

Continuing, he said: “Me coming out has had no negative effect on our band at all. We’ve got a record deal and songs in the charts. If anything, it’s helped form a connection with fans. The fact I’ve been able to achieve this while being true to who I am might inspire other gay kids – it doesn’t matter what you look like or who you love, you can do whatever you want in life.”

He said he came out when he was 14: “I came out to my friends and family when I was 14. Everyone on The X Factor knew I was gay. I came out during the middle of the series in a newspaper interview. It was easy.

“I didn’t want to be that person who lied to establish their career, waited years and then got £20,000 for selling their story to a paper – that’s what it looks like to gay kids. Why didn’t you come out ten years ago? What was your problem?

“I remember when Will Young came out. I was gay, he was gay and I loved his music because when I listened to it, I could imagine him singing it to a man. It’s like that with Frank Ocean – it means something to me. Girls have this fantasy of meeting someone from a boy band but I never had that. Why shouldn’t I be out so gay kids can have those same emotions attached to a boy band?”

On homophobia bullying, he said: “If someone calls me a derogatory name on Twitter, I challenge it. If I let people call me a ‘fag’, how am I helping my fans feel empowered? When I was younger, I used to be called ‘poof’ and ‘fag’ and it made me feel awful – it’s not nice to have abusive words used against you.

“I’m now in a place where you can call me whatever, it doesn’t annoy me but I will stick up for people. Don’t let people give you s*** – that’s what I stand for. Don’t let people bully you.”

The singer recently opened up to PinkNews about his strong support from fans for being open about being gay, and said that he was excited about the equal marriage debate in Parliament, as he felt strongly that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

Hensley, after Union J placed fourth in the X Factor competition, followed the advice of his mentor Louis Walsh and revealed that he is gay, and has a long term boyfriend, back in November. “I’m gay and I’ve never been happier!”, he said.