Inspiringly Queer: Why Troye Sivan is my Gay Hero

Music is something that so many of us consume every single day. Our most loved musicians and singers often make us feel as if we are living vicariously through their lyrics or their instrumentals. On my own part, Troye Sivan is easily my favorite artist. It’s almost miraculous how it happened, though. In terms of the “music scene,” he’s a relatively new face. He only just released his sophomore album, Bloom, this past Friday. Yet for me, loving the work, the art, the persona, and everything there is to know about Troye Sivan is something that has been an integral part of my life for almost six years.

Troye used to post regular videos every week or so on YouTube. He might have done a comedy sketch, or a segment discussing some topic or another. Sometimes, he even posted singing videos—a precursor to his now flourishing music career. I had begun to follow his videos religiously when I was 16—the same age as Troye at the time. Over the course of that year, I grew to appreciate Troye’s videos more and more as a respite—he was a YouTube star who seemed like a truly genuine person, and getting a peek into his life was a welcome relief from the stresses of my own.

On August 7th, 2013, Troye posted his coming out video to YouTube. It was one of the best days of my life. At the time, I was still struggling with my own identity as a queer person. So to see another person, another 16 year old boy with a religious background—to see him be open and honest with himself and with the world about who he was—it was euphoric beyond imagining. I cried for quite a while after I watched his coming out. I had never felt more validated in who I was up to that point in my life.

And so, I continued on this journey with Troye, watching him succeed and rise in everything he did. He eventually transitioned from YouTube to the music industry. His first two EPs, TRXYE and Wild, have some of my favorite songs on them, and then his first full-length LP, Blue Neighborhood, was absolutely life changing for me. Not only were his songs seriously well done and catchy, many of them were also so relevant to my life. His song "Heaven," in particular, resonated deeply with me. The message of that song can be summed up in one line: "If I'm losing a piece of me, maybe I don't want heaven." The struggle between who I am and who I was told to be by so many important figures in my life is something Troye addressed directly, accurately, and beautifully in this song.

After Troye's YouTube career succeeded and his musical career took off, I felt what I could only describe as pride, both in Troye as a person, and in seeing someone like me do what I had once never thought possible: be happy and free from the weight of hiding who they are. I felt as if I was right there with Troye throughout it all, and even today, when I listen to his newest (and damned amazing) songs from Bloom, I feel the same. In the end, Troye Sivan is more than my favorite artist. While I relate so much to his music, and I can never not jam out to it, it is his success, his humility, his persona, and his unapologetic queerness that make him, quite literally, my gay hero.