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The Australian Band Redefining Masculinity Through 'Radical Softness'

Cub Sport

Cub Sport's queer lead singer Tim Nelson talks about being engaged in a country where same-sex marriage is illegal. 

Queer Australian quartet Cub Sport just released their sophomore alt-pop album, BATS, which debuted at #2 on Australia's Independent Albums Chart. The band's lead singer, Tim Nelson, came out last year when he fell in love with keyboardist Sam Netterfield. The two are since happily engaged, and celebrate their union in Cub Sport's latest music video, "Chasin.'" Ahead of their U.S. tour in spring 2018, we talked with the Aussies about their dreamy new visual and the state of Australian marriage equality.

OUT: What's the concept behind your "Chasin'" video?

Tim Nelson: After coming out last year and becoming more in-touch with my true self, I had an empowering realization that there's strength in being bold enough to be vulnerable, honest and gentle. I'm learning to embrace myself just as I am, approaching life and music with a sense of "radical softness"--something that has informed the vision for our new album BATS and this video for "Chasin'" specifically. Having grown up in an environment that geared me to view softness as weakness (especially as a male), I feel really proud to be releasing a video that's soft and really pretty--something that challenges the concept of gender norms I grew up with. We really want to empower others to feel comfortable expressing their true selves by embracing what feels right for us.

You wrote the song after coming out as gay and falling in love with your friend. When did you know you had feelings for him?

I went on a writing trip in the middle of 2015 for about a month and I missed Bolan (Sam) so much. I started to recognise that I was in love with him, but I had a lot of fear and denial to work through. In the middle of 2016, we went on a two-month overseas tour. Being away from the reminders and restrictions of normal life back home was really instrumental in us feeling like we had the freedom to explore and pursue what had been building between us.

The Orlando attack happened while we were on tour in the U.S. and it was not only a reminder of how fleeting our time on earth can be, but a big wakeup call that if we just embraced who we really were we could also try to help inspire and encourage young queer people facing the same internal battles we were both experiencing. We went to Pride festival in Denver around the same time and the atmosphere was really supportive and beautiful.

The culmination of all these inspiring and motivating experiences was the catalyst to Bolan and I finally acknowledging our love for each other. Our tour wrapped up in Vancouver on Canada Day, so we had been celebrating pretty hard. Bolan worked up the courage to tell me how he felt, I reciprocated, and since that night we haven't looked back. We came out to our family and friends soon after returning home to Australia and then the news slowly trickled out through our social media and press interviews.

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And now you're engaged?

Another year later, we were lying in bed reflecting on our happiness and everything that had happened in the last year when Bolan blurted out a marriage proposal. He later explained that he had a grand plan that involved our friends and a picnic at our favorite park, but he felt like it was the right time in that moment. I, of course, said yes and we went and got rings the next day. The development of our relationship and confidence to be ourselves has completely renewed us creatively--it's a really exciting time.

There's a crucial gay marriage vote coming up in Australia. How does it feel to not have legal gay marriage in your country?

It's frustrating that it's all up in the air and we don't know exactly when we'll be able to get married. The worst part of the current situation would be the groups campaigning against marriage equality--they're being given a platform to discourage and squash a minority [group] who has been systematically oppressed throughout history. Marriage equality is such an important step in normalising homosexuality.

The postal vote shows most Australians are in favor of gay marriage.

Seeing that there are more Australians for marriage equality than against is really exciting and so encouraging. I'm sending out positive vibes that the postal survey comes back as an overwhelming YES and our politicians change the laws without putting it off any longer.

What message do you hope Cub Sport gives to your LGBTQ fans?

We want to inspire people to embrace their true selves and be proud of who they are. We're following our vision fearlessly and it's our hope that by being proud of our sexuality, we can inspire other people like us to love and embrace themselves and not feel the need to hide parts of themselves.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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