EUROVISION star Ryan Dolan has come out as gay – and admitted he contemplated taking his own life when he was young as he struggled to come to terms with it.
The 28-year-old, who represented Ireland in the Eurovision last year, spoke publicly for the first time about his sexuality.
“In school I was confused about who I was, and it was really hard for me growing up because of that. It was hard to deal with because I knew that I was gay, but I couldn't get the courage to talk to someone about it” he told Derek Mooney on Radio One this afternoon.
He spoke about how he struggled to find the courage to tell his parents, as he was worried how they would take it.
“My father was the l last person to find out because I was afraid of what he would think. I think he actually took it the better than anyone I told. I couldn’t ask for better parents, they’ve been great to me my whole life.
“My whole life I built it up in my head. The more I thought about it the harder it got. Telling my father was the main thing because me and my father would be very close.”
The Tyrone native encouraged those struggling with their sexuality to talk to someone, adding that attitudes have changed a lot in recent years.
“It’s not a big deal anymore. Things have changed compared to even when I was in school. Young people are coming out now at 15 or 16 which would never have happened when I was at school.”
“Thinking back now I wish I would have came out about it a long time ago. I think my youth was wasted worrying all the time about it. If I had been more open back then I would have been happier.
The singer also admitted that he had contemplated suicide while he was struggling with the pressures of hiding his sexuality.
“I never attempted suicide, but it was a thought in my mind”, he admitted.
He encouraged parents who may suspect their child is gay to ask them, and reassure them that it is ok.
“There’s parents who might have an inkling there’s something different about their son or daughter. Maybe just ask them, and they don’t have to go through the pressure of coming out and saying the words.
“I haven’t had one person say one thing to me. It’s not that big a deal anymore.”
The singer was promoting his new song, ‘Start Again’ with the video being centred around the story of two young gay men.
“I wanted to write a song about myself growing up, which is how the song came about.
“The idea of the video is basically about two young boys in school, who know they’re gay"
“Everyone needs to love their life being who they are, who they really are and not to hide their feelings and things like that. I think it’s got a great message.”
The single is released on March 7th, and is available to pre-order from next Monday.