Gay pop star's message of support

Published Tuesday, 15 April 2014
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Co Tyrone pop singer Ryan Dolan has used his experiences as a young gay man growing up in the town of Strabane to help others who may find themselves in similar situations.

Ryan, who represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, has earned worldwide acclaim for his song 'Start Again'.

The video on YouTube has reached over 600,000 views and America's top chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is hoping Ryan can go on her show to tell his story.

For Ryan, though, he just wanted to give his experience of his troubled teenager years trying to keep his sexuality a secret from his friends and family.

Ryan's song tells the story of two teenage boys who are in love with each other but unable to say so with tragic consequences.

It deals with issues of confused sexuality, bullying and suicide.

Ryan hopes the message will help save lives, he said: "I struggled to come to terms with myself and suicide did cross my mind a lot - particularly when I was very young.

"Suicide is becoming more common for younger people and what I went through could be a reason for it.

"When I came out my whole family were completely accepting and really supportive and I just thought I spent all those years worrying about their reaction and shouldn't have.

"I had built it up in my head so much and it just got worse and worse and now I wish I had told my family years ago.

"For anyone in the same position today, my advice would be to talk to somebody."

Today Strabane is a much changed town from Ryan's youth.

It was the first town in Ireland to open a gay bar and recently it held its first gay pride festival.

Ryan added: "It's hard to believe it's where I grew up. In the last five years Strabane has really come a long way."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
fiona in castlederg wrote (287 days ago):
Well done Ryan firstly on your vid Start Again and sharing your personal life
Shane in Strabane wrote (287 days ago):
Fair play to u ryan. I think everyone that knew u thot u were gay anyway so this is no suprise. U should have done this yrs ago it not a big deal. But well done all the same an good luck with the music career :)
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