Adam Lambert says facing homophobia early in his career pushed him to be ‘as gay as I can be’

Adam Lambert may be celebrating his first movie role, but he’s still processing the backlash he faced after his time on american idol 14 years ago.

“When I went to audition, I was like, ‘Man, I don’t think I’m going to get accepted. I’m the gay guy. This is a pipe dream,'” the actor said. Fairyland said the actor, who ultimately took second place behind Season 8 winner Kris Allen in 2009, as he accepted an award at the Creative Coalition’s 2023 Spotlight Initiative Gala on Saturday. “And I made it to the finale and I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I had no idea it would last this long. And then once I got off the show, I signed a record deal. There was a entertainment weekly article that said, ‘Oh, this guy is exciting, and it may be because he’s gay or not. And I was like, ‘Could it be?!'”

When he entered the recording industry, the former Broadway actor says he went on a “very interesting journey.”

PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 21: Adam Lambert attends the 2023 Spotlight Initiative Awards Gala Dinner hosted by Tim Daly Benefiting The Creative Coalition at Buona Vita on January 21, 2023 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

Arthur Holmes/Getty

“There were no gay guys. It was kind of the Wild West in terms of that,” he continued. “And a year later I did a performance the night my first single came out, at the American Music Awards. And I did the kind of performance I’d seen since I was a teenager. It was kind of sexy and it had dancers on stage and I did a couple of suggestive moves with a couple of the dancers and an impromptu kiss with my bass player. I was feeling it. Well, I got off stage and I got in trouble. Shall I challenge you?’ They banned me for a while. They threatened me with a lawsuit. I was like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s where we are.’ I didn’t know. I had been in a bubble in LA among artists, weirdos, and I didn’t realize it. that that sort of thing would ruffle feathers the way it did.”

From there, Lambert felt the best way to bring about change was to “be as light-hearted as you can be. And be flamboyant and wild, and if it gets me in trouble, it gets me in trouble, but I’m not going to back down.” “.

And he says that he has seen the impact of that visibility: “In recent years, I keep meeting more and more young people who saw me as children on television and say … ‘You helped me talk to my parents about being gay. ” .

adam lambert

adam lambert

Noam Galai/Getty Images Adam Lambert in concert in 2020.

Now, Lambert believes that the music industry sees it as a “viable business move to sign gay talent. And the film industry is moving forward. There are more and more queer stories being told.”

Lambert was honored at the Creative Coalition’s annual Sundance Film Festival gala by Cody Fern, who co-stars with him in Fairyland, a 1970s-1980s coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl with gay parents based on a novel series of the same name. Other honorees included Phoebe Dynevor (Fair play), Luis A. Miranda Jr. (Go Varsity in Mariachi), Lewis Pullman (the starling girl) and Nikole Hannah-Jones (The 1969 project).

“Visibility is so powerful,” Lambert said as he concluded his acceptance speech. “The LGBTQ community has been under attack for a long time, it’s under attack again. There’s a lot of conservative rejection and making art that represents the queer experience and is people-driven. That gives the LGBTQ community strength… hope. It gives us it inspires. It makes us get rid of some of the shame and self-hatred that we grew up with. I’m so excited to be an artist right now. We have many challenges ahead of us. It’s not over yet. There’s still work to be done, but I am very proud of the work that has been done so far.”

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