'I thought there was something wrong with me!' David Archuleta reflects on growing up gay
David Archuleta thought there was "something wrong with [him]" when he started to realise he was gay.
The 32-year-old pop singer grew up in a religious community and did not understand the heteronormative expectations laid out to him when it was "clear" to him that he had "strong feelings" towards other boys.
He told People: "My sexuality has been a part of me. It's something that I've felt. I can't say I was fully aware of it, but I knew something was different about me, starting from when I was a little kid in elementary school. People would start talking about crushes. I started feeling that for girls, but then I started feeling it for guys. I was like, "Wait, I was always told that this was supposed to be for a girl, so why am I feeling it for boys?"' I felt really embarrassed. Like how Elsa [from 'Frozen'] would say, conceal it, don't let them in, try to hold it all inside. Growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, everything is about marriage, everything is about having a spouse and creating children with them. But each time that I was trying to date a girl, it was clear that my feelings were equal [to] if not even stronger for guys. I was like, 'There must be something wrong with me.'"
The former 'American Idol' star went on to explain that he felt "mad" about his sexuality until he turned 30 and even ended up "praying" in an effort to change things but eventually learned to "love and embrace" himself for who he is.
He added: "I was still feeling mad until I was 30. I was like, 'No matter what I do, I don't know how to change this.' It got to a point where I was praying and I'm just like, "God, if you are really there, please. I don't know what else to do. Am I cursed? Am I supposed to be unhappy for the rest of my life?'
"Finally, I felt this huge flow of love and peace, and it just said, "David, you need to stop asking me this because you're asking me the wrong thing. You're asking me to change something that I don't intend to change. I created you this way the way, the way you were supposed to be, and you need to understand this."
"That really changed my life because I thought I had to hate myself because there was this part of me that was wrong. When I learned to love that and embrace it and just allow it to be, I was like, "Wow, I feel this love I never felt for myself ever."