David Archuleta is still recovering from throat surgery. Nevertheless, he to appeared at the LoveLoud Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday (May 14). It was the first time he stepped on stage this year after abruptly canceling his winter tour due to a ruptured vocal cord.
The LoveLoud Festival was started by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds in 2017 as a celebration and safe haven for LGBTQ+ youth and teens. David performed at the festival a few years ago, but Saturday’s appearance was his first after coming out as LGBTQia+ last June.
On stage before his performance, David delivered an emotional and tearful speech, sharing how he had to work so hard to hide his LGBTQIA identity because of his strict Mormon upbringing. “You think that if it comes out, it’s bad,” he explained. “You’re going to do something wrong and you’re going to let so many people down, and you’re going to let God down.”
David admitted that it’s still hard to be OK with himself. “But this last year has been so beautiful,” he said. After years of struggle to deny himself, he finally came to peace. He revealed, “I almost got married three times,” because he believed “If I just pushed forward, and pushed through it, I would become straight and everything would be the way I thought it was supposed to be.”
“It’s a beautiful thing to be queer”
At one point, David explained, he contemplated suicide when he realised he couldn’t change his sexuality. But he wanted to be at the LoveLoud festival to say that since he came out, he has felt to much love from “all of you, complete strangers, from my family, from my friends.”
He added, “I know that’s not the same for everybody…I just want you to know if you’ve…had a hard time feeling support, that you can feel support here from LoveLoud, from me and from everyone here.” David added, “Know that there’s a place for you.” He describes coming out LGBTQ as “so scary, but so worth it.”
“This has been such a liberating year for me to not be afraid of myself anymore. It’s a beautiful thing to be queer.” After, David sang a mashup of “Glorious” and “You Say.”
“But I just want to say. Be you.”
On Monday (May 16) David posted a few thoughts alongside photos from the festival. “The people who have put this festival together have hearts of Gold. Thank you for making a space for people to listen, gain compassion, and to love. Since the first Loveloud I’ve been on a journey to learn that myself.”
David continued, “I hope you know whoever you are, and however you experience sexual or gender identity, that it’s not something to be afraid of. Even if you grew up being taught to. I know I have been afraid of myself nearly my whole life. And I’m just now learning not to be.”
“Step by step. Being you for all that you are should be celebrated. Especially after we’ve spent so much time hiding and feeling confused trying to fit a heteronorm narrative. Even feeling like a failure or disappointment for much of our lives. But I just want to say. Be you. And take time to get to know who that is for all that you are. It is all worthy of love and being loved.”
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