You know….being in the closet when it comes to your sexuality can be a frightening and extremely frustrating place for anybody to be. Hidden away. Locked in. It sucks sometimes! It really does. And it forces you to sacrifice more of yourself than you realize, just to maintain some sense of normalcy and stability into the life that you’ve grown so accustomed to. Which can be devastating when you’re young and still trying to figure things out for the first time.
Trust me…I’ve been there, done that. Still have the T-shirt, but I’m afraid to wear it in certain places because many of the people in my personal world just aren’t ready yet. Heh…
To the younger Shackers that I talk to, I often tell them that I wish things could be different, and they ARE getting better…but to say that I’d expect my sexual attractions or anyone else’s to become a non-issue in my lifetime…well, let’s just say that my optimism can only stretch so far before it hits a brick wall. Sad, but true.
On the bright side, however…I never ever thought I’d see things come as far as they have today. So I would be overjoyed for this new generation to prove me wrong. You guys have a shot! Take it!
Which brings me to Keiynan Lonsdale! You know…every now and then, an artist comes along that really speaks to you. They take that passion, that heartbreak, that frustration, that joy, that confidence…and they launch it into orbit! That’s what I felt like when I first found Keiynan’s music.
A singer, song-writer, actor, and professional dancer, Keiynan has this whole vibe that I feel really expresses a lot of that angst, but with a liberating tone of personal freedom. A craving…not for approval, but acceptance. Sort of like a ‘love it, or leave it alone’. We never needed your approval anyway. You’re not that important. I have to admit to feeling a bit amped up and inspired by his ability to say whatever the hell he wants to say, and fuck off if you don’t get it. The exit’s that way! Hehehe, I LOVE it!
Listening to his music, he makes no issue out of openly displaying his sexuality or his desires, and if he needs to curse at you to get his point across? Then so be it. Much like the honey badger…he don’t give a fuck! And why should he? I’m in your cheering section, dude! All day!
As a successful actor, Lonsdale had prominent roles in movies like “Divergent”. “The Finest Hours”, and “Love, Simon”…but my first experience with noticing him was as the character, Wally West/Kid Flash on the CW’s “Flash” on television. I had no idea that he was gay…or Australian! Hehehe! (Bottle some of that water you’re drinking, Australia! Stop hogging all the cuties for yourselves!) And he decided to be open about it over social media in 2017, describing himself as a proud pansexual, even though he’s not really a fan of labels. A pansexual is someone who can be sexually, romantically, and/or emotionally, attracted to another person without their gender being an issue. Basically, gender-blind. Which is still a debate in the LGBTQ+ community between pansexuality and bisexuality, but…who cares? Hehehe! It’s so not important. Which, I believe, is kind of the point.
I think the first song that I ever heard from him (“Hey! Isn’t that Kid Flash??? Hehehe!) says it all…
The youngest of ELEVEN brothers and sisters (GEEZ!!!), Keiynan is the loving product of a Irish/Danish mother and a Nigerian father. “I don’t even talk in my normal accent.” He said in an interview, which was the very first time I heard him without an American accent. ::Mind….Blown:: Hehehe!
He admitted to having a huge crush on a girl when he was only twelve years old, but she turned him away. Telling him that he was going to grow up to be gay. Hehehe, what the…? Well, she missed out. Keiynan also admitted to having to deal with issues of race when he was growing up, and his skin color was the darkest of his brothers and sisters. His siblings stood up for him, but I can’t imagine it being a good time for any kid to go through. I only hope those same kids are watching him now.
He was nineteen years old before he had his first serious crush on another guy and finally began to understand his attractions a little bit better. And then he came out to his mother when he was 21 right after a significant heartbreak. Something that Keiynan said was not a pleasant experience…even if his mother understood and embraced him just the same.
“I just…I always had this thing whenever I met new people, I had this thing, like, I suddenly went back into the closet. It always felt like it was such a big deal that I’d have to reveal this thing.” Lonsdale says, also citing the cinematic version of The Flash, Ezra Miller (Who is also open about his sexuality) as one of the reasons that he decided it was time to let people know who he really was. “Coming out has changed my life in an infinite amount of ways. On one hand, like, nothing has changed, but on the other hand, everything has changed. I don’t know how that makes sense, but to me it does.”
From there, he began an incredible acting and dance career, including a recurring role in 2012’s Aussie teen drama, “Dance Academy”, and later “The Flash”. Which eventually led to his role in the movie, “Love, Simon”, which compelled him to come out and be himself in front of the whole world. The very first movie in history made by a major studio about a romance between two gay teens.
When reminiscing about the role, Keiynan says, “There’s so many beautiful LGBT stories that have been made, and we’ve heard about the heartbreak, and the suffering. Because it’s very, very, real. Umm, and I just think it’s really important, and it’s what I try to express, I guess it’s why I wear a lot of colors, heh…but life is, like…life can be, like, really incredible. And when you’re, like, yourself, and you don’t have to waste all of that time trying to be somebody else? Like, that’s something worth celebrating.” If you haven’t seen ‘Love, Simon’ yet…you should! Awesome movie! On set, Keiynan said, “I felt like the characters were progressing more than I was. So, I felt like a bit of a fraud.” Later adding, “So, after a while, I had to almost force myself to be myself…which resulted in me really liking that guy who I was.”
Understandable. I, totally, get it.
Since then, I’ve been truly enjoying Keiynan Lonsdale’s music to the fullest! You never really notice how badly you want a song to truly speak and relate to you as an individual until you hear it. With themes about boys and falling in love and having a good time and…just not giving a FUCK about what other people think about it…it’s just really refreshing, you know?
It seriously is a good time for one and all!
Another artist that I truly cherish is Janelle Monae! I guess you could think of her as a female version of Keiynan Lonsdale (Well, actually, she came first. So maybe he’s a male version of her!). While being nominated for many MANY awards for her music, being open about her sexuality (I feel) has been the only reason that she is not completely SMOTHERED in Grammy wins!!! I mean, seriously? She’s probably one of the most exciting, most talented, female artists to come out in years! And yet…not a single Grammy win to date. That is just, plain, insulting. She’s like a perfect, three-part, mixture of 70’s Michael Jackson…mixed with 80’s Prince…mixed with 90’s Lauryn Hill! Don’t believe me? Listen to the music below! I’m sure you’ll see it!
GIVE THAT WOMAN HER DUE RESPECT, DAMMITT!!! >:O
“Once I was free from what other people thought about me, umm…it made me happy.” Keiynan says, and I can feel it in the projects he puts out there for us to dive into. I think it’s necessary for everyone who’s ever spent any significant time in the closet, is looking for ways to be free from their secrets, or who has ever just felt a little bit ‘different’ from the status quo, to have a voice out there that says all of the things they need to hear from time to time. So I encourage you guys to support our LGBTQ+ artists out there whenever you can. There are plenty! Keiynan Lonsdale, Janelle Monae, Cavetown, Troye Sivan, Ronan Parke, Greyson Chance, Vincint, Trevor Moran, Ryan Beatty, Todrick Hall…they’ve opened up their hearts and shown us some love! Let’s show them some back! 🙂