Words: Steve Brown
Olly Alexander gives a powerful and passionate speech about world equality on the Glastonbury Pyramid stage.
The openly gay frontman of Years & Years took to the stage to perform at the iconic music festival which saw the likes of Kylie Minogue wow fans as well as a cameo from Sir David Attenborough who called for climate change action.
But our praise goes to Olly who gave a powerful speech about LGBTQ+ rights and talked about the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall riots.
While addressing the crowd, he said: “I talk about being gay… you might have already worked out some of the subtle messaging on the stage.
“But I’m gay and I sort of talk about being gay kind a lot. I’m sure some people would wish I would shut up about it sometimes.
“But I have my reasons, you know, and like some of them are personal because I spent such a long time wishing I wasn’t gay, being ashamed of that, so now it’s like we’re making up for lost time, you know?
“But what I wanted to say to you guys is the only reason that I’m even able to be up here, talking about my gay self, is because of all the people that have come before me that have fought for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Sometimes we are referred to as the acronym LGBT, sometimes LGBTQ+. I personally like to use the word queer, as you can see.
“But lots of people don’t like that word and that’s because that word has a complicated and painful history. And whether we like it or not, history, it really matters.”
He then continued about the Stonewall riots – which took place 50 years ago last Friday (June 28).
“This week we mark the 50 years since the riots and the protests that happened after police raided a gay bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn,” he continued.
“Now you might have heard of the Stonewall riots already. They were riots that were led by black, transgender women and people of colour and since that historic event, the world has changed so much in 50 years.
“But our history is what shapes us into who we are, and we have so much of it.
“We have so many different kinds of history. Personal history, family history, cultural history, social, political, so many different kinds of history and we make more and more every day.
“The reality is that the lives of LGBT people are as varied and as complex as anybody else’s but they are under a very real threat.
“Now the fight for equality happened before the Stonewall riots, it continues today and will go on until tomorrow and 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.”
Watch his speech below:
“The only reason I’m able to be up here, is because of all the people that have come before me, that have fought for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people” 🏳️🌈❤️
— BBC Radio 1 (@BBCR1) June 30, 2019