Troye Sivan has fast become the outspoken and sexually liberated queer pop star of our dreams. Matthew Wade recently spoke with him about femme-shaming, embracing his sexuality, and Bloom.

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In the music video for Troye Sivan’s recent single “Bloom”, the gay pop star dons cherry red lipstick, a turquoise ostrich feather hat, and glittery eyeshadow, using lyrical metaphors to describe first-time anal sex.

The video is unashamedly queer, dishing out a giant ‘fuck you’ to both toxic masculinity and the many who still femme-shame gay men.

And while Sivan hasn’t had to face very much of it himself, he acknowledges that femme-shaming is still prevalent, even within the queer community.

“The thing is, I don’t necessarily feel like I’m gender bending or anything when I do all that stuff, I still very much feel secure in my gender identity as a boy,” he says.

“So for me it’s more that I’m questioning the idea that make-up is feminine, or that moving in a certain way is feminine.

“I don’t feel particularly different when I do [those things], and no-one else should either.”

Sivan has been openly gay for much of his professional life—which spans a popular YouTube channel, film roles, and an ever-growing music career—but says he only started to embrace his sexuality in a frank and honest way while recording his upcoming album Bloom.

Previously, his natural inclination would be to censor parts of himself to make them more palatable or “mild”, but he says he wanted to consciously veer away from that.

In the music video for Bloom’s lead single “My My My”, a number of shirtless men are standing in a dimly lit warehouse that’s not coincidentally reminiscent of a gay sex-on-premises venue.

“I wanted to show that there’s no shame about [gay sexuality] in the first place,” he says.

“So that’s why I wrote about love and sex for the album—things anyone would write or sing about—because it’s no different.

“[Writing about such personal] things sort of made me grow and see myself in a new way, and the studio was a safe space to talk about it.”

Despite the proliferation of young, openly gay artists in recent years like Sam Smith, Olly Alexander, and Calum Scott, homophobia is still rife on social media, and Sivan isn’t immune to it.

However, years of uploading vlogs to YouTube and being an active part of the site’s online community helped to thicken his skin.

Troye Sivan by Jules Faure bloom

Image: Jules Faure / supplied.

“I’ve had my fair share of crazy people on the internet, but I think my background of being online since I was so young makes it a lot easier to deal with,” he says.

“I really do write it off in my head as online fodder. For everybody who doesn’t get it or is maybe uncomfortable, it feels like a lot more people do.

“And they’re the people I care about.”

Sivan has been vocal in his support for LGBTI rights, and at one stage was uploading educational videos on topics ranging from queer sex to HIV.

He believes society is “in the best shape” it’s ever been in when it comes to LGBTI inclusion, and says that’s in large part because of the hard work of queer advocates, especially the younger generation leading the way.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but there’s a whole school of young, queer artists who are doing great work in terms of representation, as well as political advocates working to make sure life’s better for us,” he says.

“Most young people are online all day, and they get to meet people from all walks of life and talk to them, which increases empathy and helps us get to a better place as well.

“These days we’re allowed to have more open and honest conversations.”

When Bloom drops on August 31, Sivan hopes it resonates with queer people.

“I want them to listen and think ‘oh yeah, I understand that, that sounds like me’,” he says.

“Really I hope anyone who has ever been in love can listen and relate.”

He also encourages his younger LGBTI fans to stay strong and keep being proud.

“It’s important to note that a lot of people are in tough spots and we can’t be complacent,” he says.

“We have to look out for each other and speak out for each other when it’s required.

“And when you’re in a tough spot it’s easy to feel like that’s the entire world, but it’s not.”

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