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Olly Alexander wins Glastonbury with ‘queer is beautiful’ speech

Ellen Stewart June 30, 2019

Olly Alexander of Years & Years performs on the Pyramid Stage during day five of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 30, 2019 in Glastonbury, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Years & Years singer Olly Alexander won Glastonbury on Sunday (June 30) afternoon delivering an emotional speech addressing how far is yet to go in the fight for LGBT+ rights.

“I spent a lot of time feeling ashamed and now it’s like I’m making up for lost time,” he told crowds.

“The only reason I’m able to be up here, is because of all the people that have come before me, that have fought for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Olly Alexander of Years & Years performs on the Pyramid Stage during day five of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 30, 2019 in Glastonbury, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Addressing the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, Alexander said: “Whether we like it or not, history, it really maters… The worlds has changed so much in 50 years.

“But our history is what shapes us into who we are…”

Alexander has previously spoken out about visibility in the LGBT+ community. Most recently he called out brands capitalising on Pride month without making any meaningful contribution to LGBT+ groups.

He shared a screenshot of an email on Instagram, where an unnamed brand representative asked whether he “might be able to do a post” to promote an “amazing Pride collection.”

“My manager has been getting requests like this every day,” Alexander wrote on Friday (June 21).

Noting that the email shared “no details on what this ‘amazing pride collection’ is or what this big famous brand with lots of money plan to do with any proceeds,” he continued: “The bare minimum approach here makes me laugh.

Alexander shared the email on his Instagram channel. (Olly Alexander/Instagram)

“No matter where you stand on corporate brand-pride tie-ins, it’s hard not to feel this year’s 2019 Pride collection of mouthwash, t-shirts, socks… banks and sandwiches has felt especially icky.

“Representation matters, of course, and corporate Pride / rainbow capitalism might be hideous but at least queer people are getting paid.

“Re-doing your logo in a rainbow and ‘donating a portion of proceeds’ is not enough.”

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