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Lil Nas X says music industry wants LGBTQ+ artists to ‘be gay without being gay’

Rapper Lil Nas X has said the industry tries to “sanitise” music from LGBTQ+ artists by telling them to “be gay without being gay.”

Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, told CBS on Sunday (2 January) he wants more gay artists to be able to say what they want via their work, without shame or fear of being judged.

Noting that he’s “definitely more out there” about his sexual identity than other openly-gay artists, the 23-year-old said the industry sometimes restricts freedom of expression of its LGBTQ+ talent.

He explained: “It’s always been, ‘Okay, if you’re gay, this needs to be sanitised. Let’s not include anything sexual.’ 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 came out as gay on the last day of Pride Month (30 June) in 2019.

The release of his debut album Montero, in September last year, dissipated any fears that Lil Nas X would not be able to follow the success of “Old Town Road.” Gis chart-topping 2019 single has been streamed over one billion times on Spotify.

In her five-star review for The Independent, Helen Brown said Montero, that was “bursting with technicolour heart”, wasn’t the “creation of a gimmick-spinner.”

In the recent interview, Lil Nas X addressed coming out after “Old Town Road” and why it felt like the “most authentic” time to go public.

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

In a previous interview, he has said he felt it was his “duty” to come out amid the massive success of the viral country rap song.

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Lil Nas X said: “I honestly felt like it was kind of my duty. Especially if I wanted to move forward. And [with] what I was doing, because authenticity is very real, and I feel like people can see right through that. And that’s a part of me.”

Montero has earned Lil Nas X five Grammy Award nominations this year, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

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