Olly Alexander is the pop pin-up for a new generation of gay music fans. But not only is the Years & Years frontman a talented singer, songwriter and total dreamboat, in just a few short years in the spotlight, Olly has made a huge impact for LGBTQ+ people in the UK and beyond.
Olly hasn’t shied away from speaking openly and honestly about queer experiences, sex, dating and relationships. He has helped put LGBTQ+ life on magazine covers and nudge our community into the mainstream.
In his latest interview, with style bible GQ magazine, Olly Alexander discusses hooking up on apps, fooling around with straight boys and why he thinks that being in a three-way relationship might be the one for him. These are the five most eye-opening moments from that chat.
“When I was newly single, I downloaded a dating app because I’d been in relationships or I’d been in the band,” Olly tells GQ.
“I couldn’t have dating apps, but then I was like, “Wait, but why the fuck can’t I have the apps? I want to have this experience.” You know?
“So I downloaded it and I was on it, and then it was just weird because people would think I was catfishing myself, which was kind of a head fuck.”
He also says he “loves to hook up as much as the next guy,” but adds that his experiences on dating apps weren’t all positive.
Years & Years recently released the first single from their second album, Sanctify. The video deals with a vision of the future but the song’s lyrics are based on Olly’s encounters with guys, past and present.
“I’ve been having a lot of encounters with straight guys that were not being straight with me and were struggling, to put it lightly, with their sexuality,” Olly Alexander says.
“I was very fascinated by that dynamic because for starters, it’s a very common experience, I think, for gay men to fall for a straight guy.”
In the GQ interview, Olly talks about how most people assume all gay men are super promiscuous and can’t commit. Well, he believes we can – but sometimes, not in the way most straight people do.
“It’s crazy how we have one relationship model,” he says of the idea that you should couple with just one person forever.
“I think even five years ago, people weren’t super aware of what polyamory meant or being in a throuple.
“And I was like, ‘Maybe I wanna be in a throuple?’ And I was like, ‘Actually, that seems like the best relationship ever.’”
OK, so while we’re making progress with LGBTQ+ relationships, there are still a lot of problems in our community, says Olly.
He says that despite progress in terms of acceptance, there are issues within the community that needs to be addressed.
“We have made amazing strides in so many ways and we can be super happy about that, but it would be delusional to think that everything’s fine,” says Olly.
“It’s also because the LGBT community is so diverse, so intersectional, and I think people outside of the community forget that. But people within the community forget it, too.
“We don’t actually reach equality unless everybody has equality, but if you’re used to privilege, true equality feels like oppression.”
Olly Alexander grew up in various parts of the UK, so he knows what life is like for young LGBTQ+ people outside of cities.
A lot of attention is paid to how much progress has been made in UK cities when it comes to visibility and acceptance. But head to smaller towns or into the country, there are still issues for LGBTQ+ people.
“I do live in a really gay-friendly city. But if you leave London, half an hour away, you feel like it’s a completely different landscape,” says Olly.
“It does feel very threatening to just hold your boyfriend’s hand or be yourself. That is the reality for most queer people.”