Troye Sivan, who has made a career as the kind of soft-boy, art-fag you’d do drag for the first time with or paint your toenails with after sex, still feels uncomfortable being feminine.
In a profile by The Guardian, Sivan explains that after coming out, he didn’t know how to be openly gay — there wasn’t a roadmap for being a queer pop star. While others in his position may have felt forced to keep their sexuality out of their work or their public persona because of their label, his “censorship” was self-imposed and “came from me not knowing what I wanted to do,” he says.
“I have to get comfortable with the fact that I am kind of effeminate sometimes — or really effeminate sometimes,” he explains. “That I want to paint my nails. Overcoming all those stupid rules that society embeds in you as a kid about gender and sexuality is a conscious task.”
These days, Sivan keeps himself insulated, surrounded by other queer people. “Sometimes I really forget that there are straight people in LA,” he explains. “I have almost exclusively LGBT people around me. That instilled a sense of confidence in me — that I have every reason to be proud of who I am.”
And part of that pride was doubling down on his own queerness and femininity in both his music and other projects. The videos he released for his debut album Bloom were unapologetically gay — whether he was painted for the gods in “Bloom” or having a hot summer fling in “Lucky Strike” — and he recently became the first male face of endlessly hip makeup brand Glossier.
Still, Sivan says he still feels stuck behind the desire to be as queer as possible and the impulse to make himself more palatable for the mainstream audience. “I’m actually a little bit scared to have the conversation… because I feel there’s some underlying homophobia in the general public, and within our own community.” Sivan says that as a gay man, you can either be hyper masculine or hyper feminine if you want to be marketable to straight people. “As soon as you enter this grey area — and this is not just for gay men, but for all queer people — that’s where people are having a harder time understanding.”