Jaymi Hensley, Member of British Boy Band, Comes Out
A member of the British boy band Union J, finalists on British reality show the "X Factor," announced that he is gay last weekend, British tabloid the Sun reports.
Jaymi Hensley, one of the four members, told the publication that his mentor on the show, Irish entertainment manager Louis Waslh, encouraged him to come out. "Every boyband has got to have a gay one! And Louis just said ’do it,’" Hensley, 22, said.
Hensley revealed that he has been in a relationship with a 21-year-old hairdresser for three years and said they plan to tie the knot and have children. Other members of Union J, Josh Cuthburt, George Shelley and Jamie Hamblett, have know about Hensley’s orientation since the group was put together.
"They have always supported me with doing this," Hensley told the Sun. "I didn’t want to do it in five year’s time when I have a career. I don’t think anyone should have to hide who they are."
He doesn’t believe his announcement will negatively impact the band.
"I’d love my career to take off to the heights of One Direction," he said. "But not enough people in the music industry are open about their sexuality." He went on to say he did not want his personal life to be judged while on the "X Factor" but "wanted to set the record straight." He says his coming out is "not a big thing for me" and revealed that he told his family that he is gay when he was 14.
"It is a brave move. There could be negative people, but they are just sad and stuck 20 years ago," Hensley continued. "I hope the reaction will hopefully be, ’OK, we kind of knew, but well done on coming out.’ I don’t want people to think I have hidden this to gain votes because I am so proud of who I am. I hope people respect me for being honest."
Hensley added that he was inspired to come out after a young fan tweeted him. "He said he really wished I could be out because he didn’t have anyone to look up to and was finding it really hard to fit in and tell his parents," he said.
Hensley isn’t the only out competitor on the U.K. version of "X Factor." Rylan Clark, Lucy Spraggan and Jade Ellis are also openly gay.