Joshua Bassett has a new perspective on life after coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actor tells the U.K. magazine attitude that before he publicly discussed his sexual identity, he had never experienced homophobia firsthand. But after coming out, he says, according to People, "This was the first time where I was subjected to a lot of homophobia."
Joshua adds that since he seems "straight" to most people, he had a different outlook of the discrimination others experienced. Now that he's on the receiving end, however, the 20-year-old singer says, "Seeing that put things into perspective, of how far along we aren't yet; I thought we were a lot further on than we are."
The positive outweighs the negative though, as Joshua feels the responses make it all worth it. "People can hate me forever and say the nastiest thing possible, but it will not change a thing, because you need to stand tall and face those people as an advocate for all the people without a voice," he reflects. "Ultimately, all that garbage melts away from one story, let alone thousands of people telling me I've changed their life – which is wild, but a crazy honor."
Joshua reveals he was motivated to open up about this part of himself after remarking that Harry Styles is "hot." He remembers thinking it wasn't a big deal, "But it kept going and growing – I was seeing comments and stuff, and I was, like, this is an important opportunity to say something that I've wanted to say for a while, but never felt like I had to, and never felt like I could."
"It felt so right," he shares. "I put it out and never looked back. It was liberating, it was freeing; it was nothing like I expected it to be."
The singer previously hinted at the nasty comments he received in May 2021. He wrote on Twitter that people needed to show more "love and acceptance" towards others.
"My entire life, people have told me my sexuality. People have shamed me for things they know nothing about. I want to say thank you to those of you who stand for love and acceptance," Joshua said. "Toxicity, hatred and negativity say less about the subject, but say far more about those who spew it."
He added, "It's 2021. We are the generation of love and growth, it's time we start acting like it. Whether you love me, hate me, or damn me to hell, I love you all the same."