Singer Adam Lambert compared being openly gay in the music industry a decade ago to the “Wild West”.
Lambert found fame in 2009 after finishing runner-up on American Idol and has since established himself as an international star, performing with rock band Queen.
He said there has been “much progress” in terms of LGBT representation since he first broke onto the scene.
Lambert, who appears on the cover of Gay Times’ AMPLIFY! to launch Pride Month, told the magazine: “I wanted to connect with other queer people in the music industry because I know that when I started 10 years ago, it was sort of like the Wild West for me.
“There weren’t a lot of us on the mainstream level. It was an obstacle course. I didn’t have that many examples of how to go about things, and it was quite an adventure.
“10 years later I can see there’s been so much progress, and there’s so many more queer artists out there right now. We’re now allowed in that space.”
Lambert, 39, founded the LGBT advocacy group the Feel Something Foundation in 2019.
He said he was heartened by the young LGBT talent in the industry and reserved special praise for barrier-breaking hip hop star Lil Nas X.
The 22-year-old rapper – who came out as gay in 2019 – has attracted both praise and criticism for exploring his sexuality in his music.
“I am so excited about what Lil Nas X did,” Lambert said. “I just think it’s high time we had somebody out there being exactly who they are.
“The thing I love about what he’s doing is not just to say the statistic of a queer person having this many streams and all that, but I also love the tone of what he’s doing.”
The music video for Lil Nas X’s song Montero (Call Me By Your Name) featured the musician sliding down a pole into hell before giving the devil a lap dance.
Lambert added: “It’s finally challenging the double standards. We have straight artists creating this type of entertainment and we’ve grown accustomed to it over the past 25 years, but when it came to gay artists we had to tone it down, or make sure that it wasn’t too sexualised, or aggressive, and it had to be safe and easy to digest.
“What Lil Nas X is doing is being a rockstar about it. He’s being subversive and it’s great.”