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Union J singer Jaymi Hensley: “I love being gay!”

By Attitude Magazine

The team at vital LGBT organisation RUComingOut is raising money to produce their first book, which will be published and then sent into schools as a teachers’ resource and support tool for young people.

A huge part of this fundraising will be the Summer Party on Thursday July 23 at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern which promises to be a special night of entertainment. With a live acoustic set from Gabrielle, a performance from Andrea Faustini , camp fun from Drag With No Name and Andrew Hayden-Smith spinning tunes, it’s sure to be a great night.

Union J’s Jaymi Hensley will host the event alongside Radio 1’s Adele Roberts, so James Ingham caught up with Jaymi to find out why RUComingOut is a cause close to his heart.


Why did you decide to support RUComingOut?

It’s a cause I’m really passionate about. I had a really great experience coming out and I know lots of people have really bad experiences but it can also be a beautiful thing that completely changes your life. I think supporting people through their coming out period is such an important cause and it’s something that isn’t covered enough. I still don’t think the general public realise just how hard and difficult it can be for some people.

It is interesting what you said there because to lots of people it is a traumatic time but as you said it can also be a beautiful experience.

Completely, 100%. Even in the worst case scenario when someone is disowned by their parents or family after coming out. You create a second family with the new friendships and bonds you make sharing your experiences with people in the gay community. It’s horrible if you lose someone by coming out but you will also gain incredible bonds so it isn’t the end of the world. There really is a positive in there.

Is it important for you to be a role model to gay kids?

People say I am but I don’t really look at it that way. But I do try to remember that some people are looking up to me. I’m not afraid to say what I think and I think that’s a positive way to be. Kids these days are often behind a computer or their phone. When I was young I had to go out and meet people and that’s what I loved about coming out. But now so much is online or on social media. I don’t think people are really going out and making as good a connection with others nor have the confidence to speak their own mind.

Do you get much fan mail from gay kids coming out?

Some. To be honest I actually get more from young girls. But the way I see it is a lot of Union J’s fans have grown up with me being gay and know that that’s OK. In 20 or 25 years when these girls have a son or daughter who might come out I may have helped or played a part in them accepting it and not struggling to come to terms with it. That’s how I like to look at it.

Why was your coming out experience so good?

I just never had a problem with it really. I was lucky. It was still difficult but I had the support of everyone. My family, all my friends at high school. I never got bullied or got any stick for it.
My mum was brilliant. She knew I was going gay clubbing underage but she encouraged me to be honest and open with her. She said she would prefer me to be honest than sneaking around behind her back.


How old were you when you realised you were gay?

I have always known. I’ve never fancied girls or wanted to sleep with them. I guess the moment that I actually realised for the first time was when I was eight. I was in a professional panto and I was in love with one of the guys in it who was about 14 or 15. Not love in a sexual way because I was 8, but I just adored him. When the panto finished I was devastated. I just missed him so much.

It was easier for me though because I have always fancied boys from as far back as I can remember. So it was normal to me. There was never that moment I thought ‘What’s wrong with me? Why do I now fancy boys?’.

How old were you when you came out personally and professionally?

I was 14 when I came out to my mum, who was brilliant. I was never really ‘in’ professionally but I officially came out on The X Factor when I was 22.

Everyone who knew me knew I was gay. People on the show knew I was gay but I didn’t come out on TV for a few weeks because I didn’t want to be known as the gay one. I wanted to prove myself as a singer and us as a group before coming out. I didn’t want it to be a big deal. I didn’t want it to be on the front cover with me wearing a white t-shirt and jeans looking to the camera with my coming out story inside. That’s old, it doesn’t have to be like that now. It’s no longer sensational, thank god.

Do you think being gay could still be seen as being detrimental to a music career?

Not at all. Like I said, no one cares any more. You just have to look at Elton John, George Michael, Boy George, Will Young, Sam Smith, Adam Lambert… the list goes on. They all have adoring female fans that still love them and probably fancy them. I do think pop stars, sports stars and actors coming out makes such a huge, positive difference. Having said that I don’t think anyone should be forced to come out. You can’t judge anyone else’s personal circumstances. It’s not just about protecting careers, it’s often because their families or parents don’t know.


Was there ever a point where you wished you were straight?

No. There were obviously times when I got a little bullied or the odd comment but I have always been cocksure.

I have always known who I am as a person and what type of person I want to be. I’m very secure in my own skin, with my sexuality and I like who I am. If someone didn’t like me purely because of my sexuality that’s their loss not mine. And if they don’t like me because of me again that’s their loss. I’m not being big-headed but I am happy being myself.

You’re in love and have marriage on the cards. How are things with Ollie?

We are great. We will get married and have kids eventually but we are both working hard to set up our future at the moment. We have been together six years which is pretty good in gay years. I’m a realist so I’m working as hard as I can now as I know my career could all be over in a year or two or five. We are hopefully going to enjoy a lot more quality time together when we are older because we worked so hard to achieve what we wanted when we were younger. We definitely want kids. Not yet, but we both do want to become parents.

If you could take that infamous magic pill and wake up straight would you ever be tempted?

I would rather die. There is not a chance. Never. I love being gay.

What’s the future for Union J?

I’ve just been in the studio with George writing for the next album. We have a few songs down which all sound really good. We hope to have it out around October but we aren’t going to rush it. The most important thing is to get it right. We’re also going on a tour. We are staying together as a group but also pursuing our own individual ventures.

Words by JAMES INGHAM – @TheJamesIngham

Head to for more info and to buy tickets to the Summer Party. And if you’re a Union J fan, be sure to download the latest issue of our youth LGBT mag aTEEN – it comes with a bonus mag specially devoted to the group! Grab it from