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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 8

Gay mag slams Adam Lambert team for not wanting him "too gay"

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/17/2009 

Out editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin is criticizing Adam Lambert's management team for allegedly only agreeing to let him appear on the gay magazine's cover if it didn't make him look "too gay."

The American Idol eighth-season runner-up -- who formally confirmed he was gay in a post-Idol Rolling Stone cover story interview in June -- appears on the cover of Out's December/January issue along with comedian Wanda Sykes, singer Cyndi Lauper, Lt. Dan Choi and Borders CEO Ron Marshall.

"We're proud to have you in this year's Out 100, along with all the other men and women who don't believe their sexuality should be a barrier to success. It's unfortunate, therefore, that your record label and management don't share the same view," wrote Hicklin in a letter to Lambert published in the issue.

"We're curious whether you know that we made cover offers for you before American Idol was even halfway through its run. Apparently, Out was too gay, even for you. There was the issue of what it would do to your record sales, we were told. It's only because this cover is a group shot that includes a straight woman that your team would allow you to be photographed at all -- albeit with the caveat that we must avoid making you look 'too gay.'"

While Hicklin goes on to call Lambert a "pioneer" and a "gay pop idol," he also pleads with the former Idol finalist to surround himself "with people who celebrate [his] individuality."

"The irony is that right now it would be easier to get Kris Allen to do a solo cover shoot for us," concludes Hicklin. "But only because he's straight."

In the issue's feature interview with Lambert, he states that -- while he lived in Los Angeles for eight years prior to auditioning for Idol and frequented gay clubs and bars there -- appearing on the Fox reality series was the first time since he came "out of the closet at 18" that he "had to think about it."

Lambert said he was forced to decide how he wanted to publicly handle his sexuality when pictures of him kissing a former boyfriend hit the Internet during his Idol run.

"When those pictures came out, I was like, you know what? I thought maybe I'll just own it and say, 'Yeah, I'm gay.' But I didn't want to label myself," he told Out.

"What I did was, I said, 'I'm not ashamed of the pictures.' I didn't do the thing that some people do and say, 'I made mistakes in the past.' I didn't want to acknowledge it as a mistake or something I was ashamed of, because I'm not."

While Lambert understands some people in the gay community might fault him for not opnely acknowledging he was gay at the time, he added "I'm not trying to lead the f--king way for the civil rights movement that we're in right now."

"I just happen to be a gay man -- and I'm not ashamed of that at all. Regardless of how I handled it, it became a huge issue," he told Out.

"And I knew it would. So I figured, you know what, I'm just not going to label myself, I'm going to own the pictures, I'm going to get past it and just keep being myself on the show. And then I waited until after because I was finally given the opportunity. I mean, on the show, we're not really [allowed to talk to press]."

In addition, Lambert said when the pictures surfaced he was immediately contacted by a Fox publicist and asked how he wanted to handle it.

"The publicist from Fox, [Jill Hudson]. She was like, 'You know, stuff like this has happened before, and this is usually what happens,'" he explained to Out.

"I was like, 'Jill, I don't want to deny it, and I'm not ashamed of it. And I don't want to seem like I'm ashamed of it. Because that's not me. That's just not how I am. But, at the same time I really want this opportunity and I want to stay on the show as long as possible. So, I kinda have to come up with a compromise.'"

Lambert said he told Hudson it wasn't a big deal to him and he's "glad" he handled it the way he did.

"I think that had I immediately said the words and labeled myself -- you know, said 'I am gay' -- I think that it would've been more about that, initially, than anything else," he told Out.

"And the fact that we didn't come out and make a big announcement or anything like that -- that doesn't make any sense to me anyway. It's not an announcement. It's just, it's part of who I am. But because our nation is the way it is, it's an announcement. And also, there are very few gay celebrities," Lambert continued.

"It's really cool, now, looking back, because I think that without saying it, and making that part of my identity, I think I allowed viewers to be more open to me. I think, had I put it out there that I was gay right off the bat, I think that people would've closed their minds right away."

Lambert's debut album "For Your Entertainment" -- complete with its intentionally-campy cover photo -- will be released on November 24.

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