Mexican-American hitmaker Omar Apollo has opened up about his painful experiences of navigating Catholic guilt while growing up as a gay man.
Apollo released his hugely popular debut indie album, Ivory, in October 2020 and quickly gained a devoted fan base by singing about “betrayal, heartbreak, lust, happiness, anxiety, depression” and everything in between.
In a new interview with GQ, the “Evergreen” singer revealed what it was like growing up gay in the Mexican Catholic community.
“All the rules, man,” he recalled. “Can’t be gay, can’t cuss, can’t do drugs. I’m just like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ It’s terrible. Really heart-breaking.”
He added: “I was way more aware [than] my siblings of how I looked. They didn’t care but I was always… [it was] probably like the gay side of me.”
However, he was quick to note that aside from the restrictions of his religious upbringing, he also doesn’t want to be defined by his identity as a gay Mexican man.
“I get it for sure,” he continued, “I just don’t think about it like that.”
It’s a stance Apollo has touched on in previous interviews. Last year, he told The Guardian that he would “rather just make music and talk about what I want to talk about”.
Away from the charts, the 25-year-old artist has also gained a reputation for his unapologetically colourful style, experimenting with everything from painted nails to crop tops.
Last year, Apollo became swept up in last year’s toxic discourse around celebrity queerbaiting, which took aim at the likes of Harry Styles, Bad Bunny and Kit Connor. After some accused him of the same, he shut it down by tweeting: “No, I be sucking d**k, from the back 100 per cent.”
Speaking to Variety about the epic clapback, he simply stated: “I said what I said. To be honest, I didn’t even think about it. I was at a dinner and I saw the tweet and answered, then ate dinner.
“At the end of the dinner, I looked at my phone and I was like, ‘Oh no’. It was so funny, my friend’s dad saw it and I was like, ‘Oh no, that’s kind of embarrassing’. But it was great. He thought it was really funny.”
Apollo has certainly tried to stick to the motto of keeping his personal life private, with one friend reminiscing on the Like A Virgin podcast a year ago about the fact that the star dated fellow singer Frank Ocean for three years.