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Olly Alexander: Culture of masculinity is ‘oppressive’

Patrick Kelleher July 10, 2018

Olly Alexander in the video for Years & Years' track "Sanctify," which features on the band's upcoming album. (Years & Years/YouTube)

Years and Years frontman Olly Alexander has said that the culture of masculinity is “oppressive” and that straight culture is “a prison unto itself”.

Alexander made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with PAPER magazine, where he also said that he has compassion for straight men.

“There are all these invisible lines that people draw in front of themselves,” he said. “You can’t say that, and you can’t get too emotional.

“If you are a straight dude, the whole culture of masculinity is super oppressive.”

Olly Alexander - BBC Three - Growing Up Gay
Olly Alexander

He also said that he speaks about sex a lot, and particularly in the press, because “so many people are afraid of it.”

“I understand that some people don’t want to and that’s fine, that’s their choice.

“But with so few vocal gay people in the world, I’ve noticed that some people get upset when I talk about sex because they say it’s perpetuating this stereotype that gay men are just promiscuous and want to f**k anything that moves.

“I say, listen, some gay men are like that and some aren’t and that’s okay. There’s more than one way to be gay, or queer, there’s not just one.”

The singer-songwriter’s band released their second album, Palo Santo, just last week. Their debut album, Communion, hit number one on the UK albums chart in 2015 and went on to sell over a million copies worldwide.

The 27-year-old, who is originally from Yorkshire, was also vocal about homophobia in the music industry, claiming it continues to persist.

“Labels and people in positions of power pay lip service to supporting LGBTQ artists. And that’s great. But when are we going to see a gay artist really thrive and succeed?” he said.

He also spoke about the band’s new album, and about how he wanted to write something that “spoke to how painful the experience of being gay can actually be.”

“We kind of interrogate our desires, and there’s a part of us that wants to be hurt and we enjoy the pain. For me anyway, I’ve kind of known that about myself for a while. Thankfully now I’m in a different place with these things.”

Alexander has previously spoken about how he was advised to “stay in the closet” when the band got their record deal, and has been vocal about the need for better representation for LGBT+ people.

More: Homophobia, masculinity, Olly Alexander, years and years

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