A former boy band star has revealed he was told by music bosses not to flick his hair as it looked gay.
David W Ross, who was a member of English group Bad Boys Inc formed in the 90s, has reflected on how the music industry forced him to stay in the closet.
Speaking to The Metro, he revealed: ‘In 1993, it was illegal to have a boyfriend if you were under 21 and HIV was affecting the gay community very badly. It was a very dark time.
‘I was told not to walk down Old Compton Street in Soho because there were ‘rumours’ about me and I was told not to flick my hair on TV because it looked gay.
‘It wasn’t just our career that would have suffered if I’d come out – thousands of pounds were spent on us and many people’s jobs depended on us.’
Ross said while he was not paranoid people would discover he is gay, he hated lying and offending his friends.
‘There was no space to get activist-y about it – it was a case of do you want a career or not?’
He added: ‘Being in the closet makes you absolutely miserable, which is one of the reasons I left the band. It’s horrible.
‘It’s different for younger people now but there are generations of people who had, and still have, to be in the closet professionally. You end up having to compartmentalise your life psychologically, which is very damaging.’
Eagle-eyed readers may recognize Ross from when he was featured in Stephen Fry’s documentary ‘Out There’ – about LGBT people and rights around the world.
Now an actor, he was seen going to a vocal coach in order to sound ‘less gay’.
Ross has written and stars in marriage equality film I Do, out on DVD now.