Placebo’s Stefan Olsdal has penned an emotive “love letter” to the LGBTQ community for Gay Pride Month.
As part of a series run by Billboard magazine, the Placebo bassist and guitarist described how the LGBTQ community helped him both when he struggled with his identity as a teenager and when he was forced to deal with instances of homophobia.
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Olsdal wrote: “Isolation was a big part of my adolescence. I was head over heels in love with my roommate at school, but I felt terrified to tell him or any of my friends for fear of not only rejection but also bigotry and aggression.”
“The forbidden love I felt became burdened with secrets, lies and shame, and the pure love I felt was poisoned.”
Part of the isolation, Olsdal said, came from dealing with homophobia both at home from his father and the wider community at large, such as when he and a partner were refused a hotel room.
“From my dad cracking homophobic jokes, to a bed and breakfast hotel refusing me and my boyfriend a room because we were two men, or having been at risk of jail when I first started having sex in the UK, the stories of homophobia are unfortunately endless.”
He added: “I have found I have not been alone with my experiences.”
The LGBTQ community, he went on, enabled him to feel “empowered”. He said: “But from feeling that being different is a weakness, a curse, and a disease, the LGBTQ community has empowered me to feel the exact opposite.”
“I am perfect as I am and there is NOTHING wrong with the way that I am, or feel. What was my Achilles heel is now my armor. For this I owe it my life!”
Olsdal concluded the letter by adding that there is still much left to do to ensure homophobia is eradicated and explained the work he is doing to raise money for the Peter Tatchell Foundation and the LGBT Foundation.
“As long as human rights aren’t given to everyone, there is work left to be done. I wear this glove, which I designed with British Glover of the Year Gizelle Renee (proceeds on each pair of gloves sold will be evenly allocated between the Peter Tatchell Foundation and LGBT Foundation), with pride.”
“We all deserve equal respect and the right to love without persecution no matter what. Whether it’s through a hand held up high, a clenched fist or a loving touch, this glove serves the message that still needs to be heard!”
Olsdal is an active campaigner for LGBTQ rights, having recently criticised the Governor of Istanbul for banning Istanbul Pride.
#IstanbulPride was banned AGAIN! I just signed @AllOut's petition to tell the Governor of Istanbul @vasipsahin to let #LGBTI+ people in the city celebrate #Pride freely. JOIN ME: https://t.co/7vb5co7piK
— Stefan Olsdal (@stefanolsdal) June 30, 2018
Placebo recently played at Robert Smith’s Meltdown, covering The Cure’s 1982 song, ‘Let’s Go To Bed’ in homage to Smith.