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How homophobic bullying led to self harm and bulimia for Years & Years’ Olly Alexander


Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander has opened up about the homophobic abuse led to self harm and bulimia in his youth.

Alexander, who discussed in detail the bullying he experienced after coming out as gay as a teenager, is making a documentary for the BBC Gay Britannia series entitled Growing Up Gay.

In the documentary, the 26-year-old aims to get across the message of hope and support to any younger people who may be suffering from the same problems.

“I think I knew I was gay from a very young age, probably in primary school. By secondary school I was just in denial. It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 that I fully accepted it and came out to my friends and my mum,” Alexander told the Evening Standard

“I went to a bog-standard comprehensive school, and there wasn’t such a thing as LGBT people – they just didn’t exist. There was no inclusive sex or relationship education – I feel like that really would have helped me.”

“School wasn’t a pleasant environment. When I was bullied it was two things. It’s the language — being called a ‘fag’ or ‘poof’. Being picked on. Being called ‘gay’ as a negative word — it still is, really. Then there was the physical side — I got into a few fights,” He continued.

When asked how he coped with the bullying and abuse, Alexander explained the lengths he used to go to: “Bulimia and self-harm were a way of coping with that. Cutting was a coping mechanism. I was in a really dark place. It’s still really difficult for me to talk about,” he said.

“What I want to get across [in the documentary] is that there is hope — you don’t have to feel like that, if you have the right access to support, friends or family.”

“What struck me is how really good we are at hiding things. I can’t turn back time, but if  I had been able to be honest with people it would have helped.”