Olly Alexander has opened up about his battle with self-harm and homophobic bullying
Years & Years’ singer Olly Alexander has opened up about dealing with homophobic bullying and how it drove him to self-harm.
The 26-year-old explained that he was subject to severe homophobic bullying during school.
He was often picked on and got into numerous fights.
This bullying led to Alexander being bulimic and self-harming.
He told the Evening Standard: “School wasn’t a pleasant environment. When I was bullied it was two things.
“It’s the language, being called a ‘fag’ or ‘poof’. Being picked on. Being called ‘gay’ as a negative word — it still is, really. Then there was the physical side — I got into a few fights.
“Bulimia and self-harm were a way of coping with that. Cutting was a coping mechanism. I was in a really dark place. It’s still really difficult for me to talk about.”
Alexander explained that he knew of his sexuality from a very young age, but did not accept it because of the bullying.
He said: “I think I knew I was gay from a very young age, probably in primary school.
“By secondary school, I was just in denial. It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 that I fully accepted it and came out to my friends and my mum.”
He added that the at the school he went to, LGBT issues were not addressed, which further deterred him from coming out.
“I went to a bog-standard comprehensive school, and there wasn’t such a thing as LGBT people – they just didn’t exist. There was no inclusive sex or relationship education – I feel like that really would have helped me.”
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Alexander opened up about the struggles he faced during school as he is currently making a documentary with the BBC called Growing Up Gay.
The singer hopes that the documentary will help other LGBT youth so they can avoid the trauma that Alexander went through.
“What I want to get across is that there is hope. You don’t have to feel like that if you have the right access to support, friends or family.”
He added that the film had been a real learning curve for himself.
“What struck me is how really good we are at hiding things. I can’t turn back time, but if I had been able to be honest with people it would have helped,” he said.