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Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 16:12 GMT
Does it matter that Will's gay?
Pop Idol winner Will Young has announced he is gay, and said he has never hidden his sexuality.
The 23-year-old TV contest winner, whose first record became the fastest-selling debut single in UK history, said he was very comfortable with his sexuality.
In an interview with the News of the World, the former drama student said: "I feel it's time to tell my fans I'm gay. "It's totally no big deal, just part of who I am."
Music industry experts have predicted Young could earn £5m in his first year alone. He is set to sing for members of the royal family and the public at a Buckingham Palace concert to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee on 3 June.
Does it matter that Will is gay? Will this announcement make any difference to his career?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Will is sensational. What difference does it make whether he is gay or straight surely it all comes down to his voice and in this day and age his looks. Keep buying his records everyone; lets keep him at number one, because he certainly is!!!
Sorry, who is Will?
I think it's good that it's now out in the open! Though I bet a lot of female fans are a bit disappointed.
Johnny G, Leicestershire
Of course it doesn't matter. He and the whole media hypefest of Pop Idle and everything like it is completely irrelevant nonsense.
If anybody would want to change his/her voting for him in the contest for the reason of Will being gay, then I ask, for what at all has he been voted for in the first place.
I would have thought, it was for his brilliant performance and nothing else. Hello people wake up! Grow up and get with it. Reading some peoples comments on issues like that makes me often wonder, with what people really concern themselves.
It wasn't too much of a surprise to me that Will is gay. It makes no difference to me whatsoever, he is still good looking, has a fabulous voice and great personality. The person who says females don't fancy gay men must be a bloke!!
I am sick and tired of the whole drama that is created by whether an individual is gay or not. Why, because I'm homophobic? No, because people like the music industry, the George Michael's of this world, Outrage and the like use and abuse the matter for their own political and financial gain. As a practising Christian I am more interested in the individual person not their sexual orientation. I have worked with gay individuals, and had neighbours who are gay but totally inoffensive and unobtrusive on my life. Will has "come out" at a time chosen by his record company to be the most opportune time and the most likely to continue the fame momentum. I would say 98% of the people I know don't give a damn whether he is gay or not. It's about time gay people were treated as individuals with their own personal lives. Stop ramming it down our throats and let them live their own lives peaceably.
Who cares - the music is soulless drivel, created by someone who cares more about celebrity and fame than creativity. He will soon be forgotten whether gay, straight or asexual.
Will is a fantastic singer and I don't think being gay will affect his career at all. He has disappointed many young girls.
It's bound to affect his career, people will view him differently, some more positively and others less so. It may help him that many people would have been able to guess anyway (and also that he really can sing!)
I think Will has done the right thing coming out. After all it's his private life just like I got mine. Good luck to you! You're always be my Pop Idol because your great:-)
Julia Hobbs, UK
I thought it was admirable that Will stated he is not an activist or a campaigner and that he would like his private life to remain his own business. There is often the assumption that all gay people are active campaigners and not simply people trying to live their life. I know that some will argue that Will is 'public property' and put himself in the public eye but the other finalists didn't announce they were heterosexual before competing so why should Will have announced his sexuality? The fact that there are some sad teenage girls who dreamt of marrying him is not even worth further discussion. His voice is amazing and he deserves every success - gay, straight or martian.
I was shocked when I discovered Will was actually gay but I still find him attractive in terms of his personality and looks and will support him fully. I do fear though that he may lose a percentage of fans due to prejudices which may affect his success. However, then again it has not stopped George Michael or Elton John.
Why would you care? If you like his music buy it, if not don't, simple as that.
I think John Wilson got it completely right - if you like his music buy it, if not then don't. His sexuality is irrelevant.
I'm a lesbian and I guessed early on that Will was gay. I love him, I love his voice and it wouldn't matter if he'd come out as straight. I'd have still liked his voice.
Those who say Will purposely waited to reveal his sexuality until after the show should get their facts right. The only reason he came out at all was because two tabloids had evidence of his sexuality and threatened to out him. Who cares if he's gay anyway? Surely it's down to the music, right? Will it affect his career? Only time will tell, but it shouldn't if the music is good enough. If I hear a record I like on the radio, I don't check the artist's sexual orientation before I buy it!
Loved up young ladies I am sure bought many many Will singles. However, steady yourselves for some actual facts... I bought the single and I am not loved up on Will. I bought the single and I am not female. Of the six or seven people in front of me in the queue who bought the single when it was released, only one was female. I think he will suffer more from the loss of his heterosexual male fans - who won't want to be seen buying his CDs, as I'm ashamed to say that most females are much more balanced.
Apart from those that are influenced by the PR industry of Pop, does anybody really care what or who this person is? The Trading Standards Authority cannot get him for his sexuality now, he can only be charged with his attempts at singing.
Surely everyone except catholic leader realises by now that the 'state' of homosexuality is caused by what happens in the womb.
Personally, I wouldn't buy his records whatever he was, but it seems that Britain still lives largely in the dark ages.
Having read some of the comments in this section I feel that people are still very short-sighted. Obviously Will being gay doesn't matter, teenage girls still fancied Boy George (god knows why) & there was never any question about him. This was obviously not a PR exercise, which would go to the News of the World to give an interview about a very personal issue. The only reason that he did was the same reason that Steven Gately did. It was that or have a tatty, lurid kiss & tell story printed on the front page based on the exaggerations & imaginations of a former boyfriend & an overexcited, homophobic tabloid editor. Like Will said it is no big deal & none of anyone's business, but the only option he had to maintain some control over his "revelation" was to sit down with the wolves. It's such a shame that in this country we have a large section of the media whose activities are disgusting and morals - even worse. How scary that they are the biggest sellers in this country! Can people please get a life!!
I cannot believe people didn't realise, maybe the younger fans didn't, but I get the feeling that Will has an older following. It's his ability to sing that is the important thing. I presume it might turn some of his fans towards Gareth. I do have my conspiracy theories but does it really matter, Will has a great voice and I heard he is releasing Light My Fire as his next single - thank god for that!
Do we care? Do we care? Do we care?
Have we ever cared?
Surely, we've always followed an artist's music because we like the music, we like the songs, we like what the songs say.
Why do we continue to discuss the sexuality of "stars" when we know it has no influence on our record buying or music listening?
(If it's really that important perhaps all CDs should be marked with "GAY ARTIST" where appropriate?)
Regardless of what happens, the guy has an amazing voice. But lets look at it this way: estimates are that he stands to make in excess of 5 million pounds this year. That is a huge sum of money in anyone's books. Even if he never produces another song again (which would be a great pity), it's an excellent start in life. At the end of the day, who cares which 'team he bats for'! What is a shame is that he may have felt forced to out himself - ones private life is, after all, ones private life regardless of who you are.
It won't affect his career. These days being gay is classed as either trendy or a publicity stunt - it's pathetic. He deliberately waited until he won before 'coming out' in case it affected his chances of winning.
Marc Rothman, UK
I think it's a great 'test' for the UK: who will ultimately win out of Gareth and Will since this announcement. Sadly, it will be safe, heterosexual, bay-band mentality Gareth. When will the UK grow up?
I don't think it will affect his career I still think he's cute so what does it matter.
No doubt an ex-boyfriend offered his story to the News of the World and they gave Will the option to come out first, thus saving them having to buy the story.
He isn't brave nor did he choose when to release the news. I will still buy his album but I will never be able to watch him in the same way again!
Perhaps it will slow his progress but I have to believe that talent, integrity, courage and a voice that raises goosebumps (whatever the listeners sexuality) will see him through to a long and successful career. I for one will be queuing for the album because I am sure he won't short-change either himself or the public. Good luck Will!
Mr. Young's move will inevitably have an affect on his career. The demographics have changed... he's singing for a new audience now. His sales may not be what they were a mere week ago, but he is still a star. I commend Will on his courage to stand up, stand out, and be true to himself.
Alex Keenleyside, England
Being gay should not affect his career, as it should be about his music not sexual preference. Long established stars such as George Michael and Elton John have had extremely successful careers since they declared their sexuality. And if Will was chosen in the Pop Idol Contest on his talent rather than his looks then the results are already conclusive that he will have a very successful career as the majority of people chose him. I wish him lots of luck.
Well it kind of stuck out that Will was Gay.
But from my experience however much you say you are happy to be gay, deep down you always have a sense of why me, what did I do.
I fully support Will for what he has done, it cannot have been easy, I am sure many will stick by him, well he has talent.
All the best to you Will! You are brave, I was never so.
It will matter, as it mattered with George Michael. I would imagine that it will die down but how Will Young is used as a Marketing tool will change.
Who really believes what the News of the World writes! Sadly this was a bad if honest move by his PR team. Good luck to Mr Young but my guess is this will assist him being famous for being famous and his music heritage will not take root.
Maybe by announcing his homosexuality, he is hoping his music travels across the Atlantic. We love a good gay success story.
Michael Wengert, Korea
From the beginning of the Pop Idol series Will has been my ultimate pop idol. He has many outstanding qualities one of which is his uniqueness in singing. In my opinion Will is a great, honest guy and we as mature adults of the 21st century should accept him for who he is and not judge him on his personal life. Society should realise that homosexuality is and always will be a part of every society. Will Young is a true star.
I think that homosexuality doesn't change much in the pop world. It's more "out of the closet" than ever. We have the gay performers like late glammers Jobriath and Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Sir Elton John, Boy George, Stephen of Boyzone, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Felipe Rose (the Native American of the Village People), The Pansy Division, K.D. Lang, Melissa Etheridge, and the Indigo Girls. It doesn't matter if they are gay or straight, just as long that make good music.
I think that it will hurt his career as homosexuality isn't understood nor accepted by a majority of Americans who have no gay friends and can't comprehend enjoying sex with another hairy male.
I never heard of Will before, but he's struck a valiant blow against the "don't ask, don't tell" miasma that still hangs over our supposedly liberal society.
It really doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks. What matters is what the Bible says. Reminds me of the joke. A homosexual meets St. Peter and says: Sin? I thought it was just an alternative life style.
At the end of the day does it really matter???? I mean at least he can sing...live that is...which is more than can be said for most of the so-called teen-pop icons these days!!!!
So what if he's gay. It's the media that is making it out like there might be some problem. It was obvious in Pop Idol that he was, why should it matter now?
Affect his popularity? You're right it will, it'll help it soar through the already-blown roof. Such publicity is absolute heaven... everyone will fawn over darling Will, who's obviously so brave for telling everyone what they knew already. Sheesh. Talk about PR stunts.
Just typical. Something like this was bound to happen, considering the laws under which the media must operate. Well, Carlton TV must be jumping for joy. What better excuse to have Will on the cornflakes with a special "Hey I'm Gay, didn't you know!" CD glued to the back. Or what about "Will's Gay Milk", especially for those inquisitive young minds not familiar with this repulsive persuasion. Yes, you guessed it - I disagree with gays. Sue me. I'd rather state my mind than stand with the 'trendies' blabbering on about how they tolerate people. Then they wonder why people turn the TV off.. This whole madness does not surprise me at all.
It matters not a bit whether he is gay or not. I certainly don't care. But the music is still awful....
The fact that Will's sexuality is such a talking point confirms the fact that, as a country, we are not as tolerant as we would like to believe, which is very sad. Will should be judged on his abilities to put out good songs with good vocals and nothing else. One issue which is being overlooked is the fact that tabloid-type newspapers feel they have the right to give individuals in the public eye such choices - come out or be outed. Maybe this is what we should be talking about?
Anyone watching Pop Idol every week must have been very naive not to have 'sussed' it out. There were so many subtle hints over the course of the competition. Who cares anyway? He won the competition and is at the top for the moment but it will only be his singing that will determine whether or not he maintains that position ... not what he is or does in private.
Carla Zwart, UK
The fact that this keeps coming up as a topic of conversation is starting to make me feel old and grey. What is wrong with the world? Will you please just let people live their lives and be happy. If you have a problem with homosexuals you are intolerant and should re-examine why you are so mad. If people would just chill and mind their own business this world would indeed be a better place for us all.
If Will's sexuality "doesn't matter at all" and is "no big deal", why are there hundreds of articles about it, and why are people writing into this message board?
John Smith, UK
I think a lot of people are missing the point. In the grand scheme of things of course it doesn't matter if you are gay, people are entitled to be what they want to be however, Will is supposed to be a pop idol which in my view means his target audience will be girls of around 9-15. I find it difficult to believe that girls will idolise any guy no matter how nice his is if he is gay. Everybody goes on about how good a singer Will is but they forget there are an awful lot of good singers out there also with good personalities that would give anything to have screaming girls chasing them around all day. Trying to compare Will to people like George Michael is also wrong, George Michael was well established before he came out. Will is just at the beginning of his career. I think his teenage audience will slowly now desert him and it will be up to the oldies to buy his records and just how much of record sales are oldies responsible for?
Yes, I think loads of young fans will be put off by Will's announcement. I think he should've kept it hidden for a little longer to give fans a chance to really know him and love his music. I am afraid this might signal the beginning of an end for Will, also Gareth Gates might benefit from all this. We will have to wait and see.
Personally, I do not see why the career of such a talented and obviously confident performer, such as Will Young, should suffer from 'telling the truth'. The emphasis on his sexuality is surely indicative of our nations unfounded prejudices towards gay people and ideally should no longer be an issue. Would it have made front page news if Will was Asian and won Pop Idol - I think not. I am therefore hopeful that the gay community and any other rational thinking person will continue to support the obviously promising career of a 'Pop Idol'. I know I will. Thank you for the courage you have shown Will and the obvious influence it has had on many gay youngster - I know that it has helped me. Good Luck :)
However, a good-looking male celebrity declaring his homosexuality surely stands to become a gay icon, providing him with a steady audience and income from the enduring loyalty of the homosexual population.
Whatever the reaction of the mass audience to him coming out, at the moment his owners can't just drop him. There's too much momentum and investment behind their efforts to extract revenue with him. He's got one over on them, if you ask me.
It doesn't matter. Nobody cares about Michael Jackson's sexuality, but still his records sell like hot cakes. Although I am straight, I would think that being a gay is a personal choice that we must honour, otherwise there would be no Elton, George or Freddy.
Never mind his sexuality, it's his behaviour in front of the "beloved" public that counts.
I love Will, and the fact he's gay just make my feelings stronger.
He's so brave and courageous telling everyone like this, his warm smile melts my heart and I bet all those teenage girls are wishing they were a 30 year old hairy bloke like me.
I don't think that it should effect Will's career but there will be lots of disappointed ladies out there. I totally feel for him as I know how hard it is to come out and admit your sexuality as my brother came out and admitted that he was gay about a year ago. I do not think that Will should be treated any differently at all and I wish him all the luck in the world.
Will's coming whether forced upon him by the newspapers as I suspect, or not, will not be a surprise to many, especially those in the gay community. We all knew from early on in the programme, it was so obvious. Will has great strength of character and I for one hope that he will fight against being exploited for the gain of his record company bosses and sing the songs he wants to sing. Has anyone else noticed how uncomfortable he looks singing the current single. Will you have a great voice, don't let them manipulate you!
I think Will has misled the public. The very nature of a 'Pop Idol' is that they appeal largely to teenage girls, as much because they will fancy the idol in question as because of their talent. I think that had this revelation come out (pardon the pun) before the TV final it could only have adversely affected his number of votes. Several times Ant and Dec referred on the show to 'lasses chasing him' down the street, so by laughing along with that has he not, in fact, been dishonest?
Call me on old cynic, but this story smacks of the marketing machine keeping Will's name at the front of our minds and on the front of our newspapers. I hope for his sake this is not the case, but it has happened before. Does anyone really believe Hugh Grant's episode with the L.A hooker was not simply a publicity stunt to help give his and Miss Hurley's then dormant careers a push? Regarding Will - he will be loved by those who really matter, regardless of his sexuality
W Richardson, UK
Gay or not, he's still utterly talentless and will disappear within a few months. Let's be honest, singers with his look and sound are ten a penny these days. Whatever happened to individuality? Hopefully this will just end the agony that much sooner.
I don't think it makes any difference to his singing or his career. He is a great singer and I think that people should just let him get on with his life and his career.
It is a shame that Will felt he had to keep quiet until now, maybe because his Pop Idol colleague Korben claimed he was voted off because he was gay. I just hope that all the young girls who voted for him will now get over the fact that he prefers men and enjoy the music he performs. I bet that Will must have wondered if he would have won Pop Idol if like Korben people had known he was gay. I bet Korben wishes he had kept quiet. At the end of the day Will is a winner whatever his sexuality is!
It won't make any difference at all. Will stills has a great personality and brilliant voice. He's a born winner and entertainer. It hasn't affected George Michael. As he says: "It's part of who I am." Good luck Will.
I love you so much Will. You are unbelievable. You are seriously good looking and you have a wicked voice. Ever since you told everyone you were gay I have liked you so much better because you're honest and you never keep anything from your fans. You are a true pop star and you will make it big, trust me. P.S I love your dress sense.
I don't think for one minute the results from Pop-Idle would have been any different had Will told of his sexuality before the final. No other contestant announced if they were straight, so why should anybody who is gay announce it immediately. Anyway, Brian from Big Brother made no secret of his sexuality (not that he could hide it) and it did not affect him in any way. I am not speaking on behalf of the gay community neither, I am a married lady with children and I accept that we are not all the same. GOOD LUCK Will, fantastic voice, and personality to match.
I think, unfortunately, it might affect his career. Most of his audience (record buyers) will be teenage girls, who are often more concerned with looks than music. George Michael and Elton John were established stars when they came out, but still their record sales suffered (particularly in the US). Steven Gately's career took a nose-dive when he came out. I think Will has inherited a wider fan base from the TV show, but the pop industry is a fickle thing. I'm sure it was only a matter of time until he was "outed" by the press, hence the decision to beat them to it.
Honesty is the best policy, and the truth will set you free. Well done, Will! You are a good example to us all.
Alex Williams, Hertfordshire, England
As Pop Idol's popularity grew, it proved that it wasn¿t just teenage girls that were voting, but men and women of all ages. He won on the quality of his voice not his hairdo! I don¿t think many people will be surprised at his announcement, and if they do decide to not buy his records then they surely can't appreciate real talent, so they aren't worth worrying about anyway!
Who cares? He can sing can't he! Kirsty at work here fancies him and is very disappointed, Perhaps she will make do with me now
People may say it makes no difference that Will is gay, but I disagree. Take Stephen Gately, not that his career has disappeared, but he wasn't so much in the public eye after he came out. Also, would it have made a difference if Will had said he was gay during the competition? Again I think so. Let's face it, young guys like he and Gareth are mainly drawn by a young female audience, if they are gay who do they appeal too. Don't get me wrong, Will's voice is superb and he deserved to win totally, but saying this won't affect his career comes across a bit naive.
If Will's career declines after this announcement, it will probably owe more to his fan base finding a new 'flavour of the month' rather than any issue of his sexuality. If this PR exercise does keep Will in the public eye longer than he deserves, I wonder if Gareth, Rik et al will follow suit for 'commercial' reasons.
Kevin , Bedford, UK
I think it would be terrible if Will's record sales took a hit simply because he is gay. I hope they plummet because he is a decidedly average singer belting out pap.
Are we still so backward that a person's sexual orientation needs to be broadcast in order to decide whether or not we like his music? Surely no one cares whether he's gay or not. Or is this (as I suspect) a means of gaining publicity?
It doesn't matter to me but I suspect it will affect his career.
Closeted celebrities are a sign that being gay is still not fully accepted by the public. But it's time that celebrities took the risk of rejection, and time that the public accept that homosexuality is part of society and should not be suppressed.
Alex Coe, UK
More to the point, is anyone surprised?
Either Will has acted naively, or he has been pushed into this. I can't help feeling that Will has been made to make this announcement now, so as to discredit his own career, leaving the field open for Gareth Gates. We all know that Gareth was Simon Cowell's favourite Pop Idol contestant all along. Shame Gareth is so dull really.
I personally don't care about any celebrity's sexuality, only at how talented they are. I also can't help thinking how shallow someone would be if this affected whether or not they bought his records, either to stop buying them because he is gay, or to start buying them.
Darren Badrock, England
As Will himself has stated the announcement that he is gay will come as no surprise to many people - me included.
I voted for him on his merits as a performer and the fact that he was easily the better of the two finalists.
It certainly seems to matter to the News of the World, who splashed screaming headlines all over their front page... Like we were interested.
Alastair MacGregor, UK
I suspect that the only people who will care are the pre-teen girls who buy his output "because he's gorgeous". Personally, I couldn't care less. I'd rather listen to my own stomach rumbling than the manufactured rubbish that passes for popular music at the moment.
Why should it matter that Will Young is gay? His abilities and talent do not vest in his sexuality. It idiotic to think that his true fans are going to be turned off him just because of who he is.
It makes absolutely no difference to me that Will is gay. Frankly I'm surprised that this has come as a shock to the majority of people. However I would advise a little forward planning for Will's future track releases. Even teenagers who are certainly the main target audience are sure to find Will's sentiments for 'beautiful girls' somewhat unconvincing!!
Will being gay is obviously a big deal to him. He's clearly staged this announcement at the perfect time to keep him in the public eye between the end of the TV show and his first musical release.
Call me cynical but is this merely a calculated plan to increase record sales. Personally his sexuality is of no interest to me but then again I do not like his music either.
I always thought it was common knowledge. Will didn't admit it, but it was plainly obvious. At least he didn't go down the George Micheal road, and have people guessing for years. Honesty is the best way forward. Good luck to him!
Robert Crisp, UK
It's no big deal, nor is it much of a surprise. A succession of pop idols have come out in recent years from Michael Stipe of REM to George Michael and Elton John. However, if Will's success is based on sales to teenage girls who think he's good-looking then he might be in for a rough ride as good looking blokes who can sing are plentiful and they may prefer a straight one. If it's Will's voice that people enjoy then his career will be unaffected by this. If not then we'll all know that it isn't the music that matters but the image and if that's the case then hopefully we'll all be horrified about what this says about ourselves.
Here's hoping it doesn't affect his popularity.
In an ideal world it shouldn't.
Sadly, deja vu strikes: Who's heard of Steven Gately recently?
Of course it does not matter. He is a pop idol and a brilliant singer who will go far.
If it didn't matter, then why did he wait until after he'd had a number one hit before telling everyone?
I don't think it will affect his popularity at all, it was very brave and I'm sure most of his fans will admire him for it. I do however wonder if he would have won if he'd gone public before the final. There are a lot of bigots out there and it could have put some people off.
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