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Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn is an out and proud gay man.
The "Sleeping With a Friend" singer came out to friends and family last fall, and he decided to share the news publicly with Rolling Stone. "I've always felt like I'm an open book, and yet obviously I haven't been completely," the 30-year-old musician tells the magazine, which hits stands March 28.
Glenn says he's known he was gay since childhood, but kept his sexuality a secret. "I had my crushes on guys throughout high school, but it was never an overwhelming thing until my twenties," he admits. "Then I'd be dating girls and in love with my straight friend and it was the worst feeling in the world."
Raised Mormon, Glenn was conflicted about his sexuality. "We were always taught, and I hate this word, 'tolerance,'" he says, regarding his church's stance on homosexuality. "The only time that felt different was when the Prop 8 thing came up," he says, referring to when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent an estimated $22 million fighting same-sex marriage in California in 2008.
Seeing others come out publicly in recent months inspired Glenn to do the same, Rolling Stone notes. "I really love all of the sports figures that are coming out recently," the singer says before referencing a potential NFL recruit. "I appreciated [that] Michael Sam was like, 'I want to be able to go to the movies and hold hands with my boyfriend.' Even hearing him say 'boyfriend,' I was just like, 'That's cool.'"
After an excerpt from the article was published online, Glenn received many messages of support online. "I'm the happiest lil weirdo i've been in my whole entire life. Thank you for the support and love," he tweeted Monday. "Yes. I am a happy and healthy Mormon gay pop star. I don't know what it all means, but I'm ok with it."
He later explained why he decided to come out via the iconic magazine in a lengthy Facebook post, writing, "I don't think I'm special for being a gay man. That's not why I came out. I didn't come out so all of you could say 'i knew it' based on the clothes I wear or the way I dance. I never even thought I'd have to come out."
"I'd be the 50 yr old living with dogs hiding my relationships living on a beach somewhere. Maybe then i'd be comfortable with it. But it was last summer, writing songs for the new album, being so fed up with 'hiding' and being so ready to be 'free' that I poured my heart out into music more than I'd ever had before. Music indeed was my first love. Not a boy. It was music that I had always had a torrid love affair with. I felt I owed him, the music, or her, the song. I had to be honest with that relationship."
"It was the moment I let myself write about the years spent in falling for my straight friend or the song I let myself write about thinking it was ok to be alone forever because it was better than explaining myself. It was those truths that came out before I decided to. You can't hide away forever. I don't think i was even trying. But music never let me lie. Something always would come out in the songs."
He continued, "So now you know what you may have always assumed. Good for you. How does it feel? Do you want a 'gaydar' award? Do you want to be pat on the back because you can 'spot them?'"
"It is not news. It is not meant to be salacious," Glenn explained. "Until you know what it's like to hide, to keep away true happiness out of fear. That's when you truly understand what it's like. It's not about coming out to wave a flag in another's face. At least it's not for me. For me it's about finding the purist of peace. The absolute settling of my soul. The clearest vision of the road I want to take."
"I'm 30. I don't want to die anymore. I want to really live. Honestly, and fully. What an amazing place to be. For me it was a place I never cared about. Now all I want is to be honest."
"That's what this whole 'coming out' thing is for me. It's been quite a real and beautiful day to have so much compassion and love coming from strangers, fans that have been there since the beginning, new fans, family, friends. For someone like me, the eternal self deprecator, i just want to say thank you," he wrote. "I guess the last thing I want to say tonight and for now is if you're like me, a wanderer, a questioner, a soul searcher, a dreamer, or misunderstood for any reason at all: Come out."
"Come out as a wanderer. Come out as a questioner. One day it wont matter. But it still does. Come out as YOU. That's all I really can say. That's what i'd say to me at 21, the scared return mormon missionary who knew this part of himself but loved God too. You can do both. Don't let anyone tell you you can't. All my love and hope, and for now, back to the music." Neon Trees Drummer Elaine Bradley retweeted Glenn Monday and told her 8,000+ followers, "Now y'all know! Much love."
Glenn's personal life aside, the musicial group—known for hits like "Animal," "1983" and "Everybody Talks"—will release their third album, Pop Psychology, on Apr. 22.