ENTERTAINMENT
01/07/2019 12:29 BST

Glastonbury 2019: Years And Years' Olly Alexander Delivers Empowering Speech About LGBTQ+ History

Addressing fans at the Pyramid Stage, the Sanctify singer said: "I believe that everybody here has the chance to change history."

Years And Years frontman Olly Alexander took a moment out from the band’s performance at Glastonbury this weekend to deliver a speech in honour of Pride month.

During the band’s set, messages flashed up on stage referencing the more explicitly gay themes in Years And Years’ second album, including “just creeps me out” and “he sounds gayer now, he’s doing too much”.

“You might have already noticed some of the subtle messaging on stage,” Olly told the crowd, in front of a backdrop reading “queer is beautiful”. “But I’m gay and I talk about being gay kind of a lot.

“I’m sure some people wish I would shut up about it sometimes, but I have my reasons and some of them are personal, because I spent a lot of time wishing I wasn’t gay, being ashamed of that, so now it’s like I’m making up for lost time, you know?”

Dave J Hogan via Getty Images
Olly Alexander at Glastonbury

Acknowledging the importance of recognising queer history, days after the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Olly continued: “The only reason I’m able to be up here talking about my gay self is because of all the people who came before me that fought for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“Sometimes we are referred to as the acronym LBGT, sometimes LGBTQ+, I personally like to use the word queer… but lots of people don’t like that word, and that’s because the word has a complicated and painful history.

“And whether we like it or not, history really matters.”

After delving into queer history, Olly then looked to the future, noting: “The reality is that the lives of LGBT people are as varied as complex as anyone else’s, but they are under a very real threat.

“The fight for equality began before the Stonewall riots, it continues today and it will go on until tomorrow, into the future. But the future is not fixed. And our histories cannot predict what tomorrow might bring or what we might do with it.

“I believe that everybody here has the chance to change history. We change history every day, and it’s up to each and every one of us if we want to change the world. I believe there is no true LGBT equality until the fight against racism is over, against sexism is over, against ableism, bigotry, climate change… if we want to get anywhere without leaving anybody behind, we’re going to have to help each other out.”

Since Years And Years’ rise to fame, Olly has repeatedly used is platform not just to shine a light on LGBTQ+ issues, but also on subjects relating to mental health.

Back in 2016, he made headlines with a similar speech at Glastonbury, about the importance of overcoming fear.