Joshua Bassett has said that he doesn’t want to “live in fear” over his sexuality, even if there are “consequences” to being open.
The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star appeared to come out in May during an interview with Clevver News, telling the outlet that Harry Styles is “hot” before saying: “I guess this is also my coming out video.”
Speaking to GQ, Joshua Bassett revealed that he’s still figuring out exactly how he identifies – and he explained why he’s in no rush to label himself.
Referencing his Harry Styles comment, Basset said: “I wasn’t joking,” adding that the interview gave him “an opportunity to say something” that he believes in.
“Even if there are consequences, I would much rather deal with consequences and live my truth than live in fear,” the 20-year-old said.
When asked if young people still need to “come out” as LGBT+, Bassett said he is “anti-coming out in the sense that there’s no need to,” adding: “People are welcome to have boxes if they want them.”
Joshua Bassett doesn’t want to ‘rush to a conclusion’ on his sexuality
He continued: “There are plenty of letters in the alphabet… Why bother rushing to a conclusion? Sometimes your letter changes, sometimes you try a different one, other times you realise you’re not what you thought you were, or maybe you always knew.
“All of these can be true. I’m happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community because they embrace all. Don’t let anyone tell you love isn’t love. They’re the ones who probably need it the most.”
He added: “I think nothing is more powerful than speaking the truth.”
Joshua Bassett went on to describe having “full body chills” when he watched Joe and Frankie, a gay couple on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, dancing together for the first time in the show’s fifth episode.
“I didn’t connect the dots why until recently… the reason that made me so emotional. I’m getting so emotional now because they were speaking their truth despite the inevitable reaction that they were going to get.”
The actor said he hopes young people today can feel “comfortable, confident and safe” talking about their sexuality – and he wants queer youth to not feel pressured to label themselves.
The interview comes just weeks after Bassett wrote on social media that it’s “OK to still be figuring out who you are” following fervent speculation about his sexuality.
In the post, he urged fans to “love who you love shamelessly”, adding: “Life’s too short to let ignorance and hatred win. I choose love,” alongside a string of heart emojis making up the colours of the Pride flag.