Metro Weekly

Lil Nas X accuses music industry of ‘sanitizing’ LGBTQ artists

“It’s like, ‘Be gay without being gay. We don’t wanna know what happens behind closed doors.'"

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X — Photo: Charlotte Rutherford

Lil Nas X has spoken out about the music industry forcing LGBTQ artists to be “sanitized” by censoring “anything sexual.”

Speaking to CBS News, the Grammy-winning singer and rapper discussed his decision to come out as gay while his breakout hit “Old Town Road” was sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100.

Lil Nas X said it “would’ve been the most authentic time” to come out.

“It’s like, I’m not doing it for attention,” he said. “I’m already like the number one artist in the world right now.”

He added that while there was “definitely some fear” about his decision, “It’s like, I’m not doing it for attention. I’m already like the number one artist in the world right now.”

Lil Nas X then suggested that gay artists in the music industry are required to censor themselves in a way that he refused to do.

“I feel like I’m definitely much more ‘out there’ with it,” he said of his sexuality. “It’s always been, ‘Okay, if you’re gay, this needs to be sanitized. Let’s not include anything sexual.'”

He added: “It’s like, ‘Be gay without being gay. We don’t wanna know what happens behind closed doors, or we don’t want you to express that.'”

Lil Nas X chooses to be be so open because he wants “every other artist to feel the same way,” he said.

The “Montero” singer has embraced his identity as a gay Black man in the music industry, often courting controversy and angering social conservatives in the process. But he’s also used his public platform to reach out to and give hope to LGBTQ youth who may be struggling with their own journeys of self-discovery.

In February last year, Lil Nas X shared a series of TikTok videos documenting his life story, including his battles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, even as he was becoming a musical star.

RelatedAnti-gay rapper Boosie Badazz tells Lil Nas X to ‘commit suicide’ in Twitter rant

In March, he released a heartfelt letter, addressed to his 14-year-old self, about coming out publicly in which he again touched on his struggles with suicidal ideation.

“I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist,” he wrote in the letter. “You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”

Conservatives have frequently attacked Lil Nas X, particularly after the inclusion of satanic and unabashedly LGBTQ imagery in the award-winning music video for “Montero.”

Lil Nas X portrayed multiple characters in the video, including both Adam and the serpent in Garden of Eden, who ultimately kiss. The video concludes with the artist pole-dancing his way into Hell and offering Satan a lap dance — before snapping his neck and taking his horns.

RelatedLil Nas X thanks ‘gay agenda’ after VMAs win

The video was met with the typical outcry from anti-LGBTQ figures, which Lil Nas X gleefully responded to on Twitter in a series of clever clapbacks.

He also called out the hypocrisy behind the conservative backlash, writing on Twitter, “I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because I was gay. So I hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”

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