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The ‘Feel Something’ singer revealed he is part of the LGBTQ community earlier this year, and has said he had never experienced hate based on his sexuality before coming out, which made him realise how far society still has to go to achieve equality.
He said: “This was the first time where I was subjected to a lot of homophobia. You know, I seem ‘straight’ to everyone I meet, pretty much, and I have had to see that [homophobia] first-hand. 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.”
But Joshua also received so many positive messages from people who could relate to his situation, which he says “makes it all worth it”.
He added: “On the flip side of all that are the responses I’ve gotten from people saying, ‘I’ve never had somebody put into words exactly how I feel.’ Or, ‘Thank you so much for helping me be seen.’ Or, ‘I can’t be who I am around my family, but because of you I feel a little bit safer, a little bit more at home.’
“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. 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 honour.”
The 20-year-old singer wrote his coming out statement “in less than five minutes”, and didn’t feel anxious at all about putting it out into the world.
Speaking to Attitude magazine, he said: “It felt so right. I put it out and never looked back. It was liberating, it was freeing; it was nothing like I expected it to be.”