Years and Years star Olly Alexander has experienced homophobia
Years & Years singer Olly Alexander has been "spat at" whilst out in public for being homosexual.
The 'King' hitmaker was mercilessly bullied when he was growing up in Coleford, in Gloucestershire, South West England, and was regularly attacked for being gay.
Olly - who quit the town when he was 18 - believes homophobia still exists in society, even though huge steps have been made when it comes to acceptance of the LGBT community.
Speaking to the new issue of ES Magazine, he said: "I've been called names in the street and hit and spat at. Growing up and moving to London was all I longed to do ... Homophobia is less overt, sure, but it's still with us in insidious, institutionalised forms.
"Gays are still the 'Other', they're apparently less likely to fix your car or play football. And we do we want them to be teachers? These questions are still around."
Olly, 25, admits his teenage experiences of homophobia have had an effect on him.
The pop star can't help but feel self-conscious about showing affection in public to his boyfriend, Clean Bandit violinist Neil Amin-Smith.
He said: "This is my own internalised shame, probably, but I still feel a little uncomfortable holding hands with my partner in public."
Olly was determined to be open about his sexuality when he started Years & Years because he wanted to be an inspiration to any fans who may be gay but not out.
He shared: "My lyrics are about same-sex relationships, because that's who I am. It was important to me that I felt comfortable expressing myself. I'm always touched and humbled by the number of people who come up to me and say they connect with my sexuality in the songs. Other people just like the songs. But Sam Smith already proved an important point to the very risk-averse music industry, which is that you can be an openly gay male artist and sell records."
The full interview appears in this week's issue of ES Magazine, out on Thursday (10.03.16).