One year ago, former “American Idol” contestant David Archuleta publicly shared that he is part of the LGBTQ community.
On Saturday, June 11, one day shy of his one-year anniversary of coming out, Archuleta shared an Instagram post to mark the occasion. In the caption and comment section of the post, he penned a lengthy message reflecting on his life before coming out and what the last year has been like since opening up about his sexuality his.
“A year ago I was pulling weeds and felt in my heart I needed to open up about something that before I always considered unthinkable. Unimaginable,” he began his message to her. “Always considered my greatest fear. But that day I felt peace with myself. I wasn’t afraid anymore of who all of me meant. Even if that meant I liked guys.”
The 31-year-old revealed that he didn’t intend to come out during Pride Month last year, explaining, “It was just the natural flow of events the days prior coming to terms with myself and deciding to say it out loud after ending an engagement I had to a great and understanding girl just a couple weeks before.”
“I didn’t want to hide anymore. It was causing a lot of turmoil inside,” he said. “Running from yourself when you’re always stuck with yourself. Isn’t the way to solve things. I thought marrying would solve it.”
The singer said that his former fiancée was one of three women that he came close to marrying in his life, but that each time he “knew something was wrong” and that he “wasn’t being fully honest” with himself or the women.
“They always thought it was them. I hope they know it was just me not understanding why I was the way I was,” he said. “Why I couldn’t connect with them or like them more. Why I couldn’t have feelings you should when you’re in love with someone when it comes to that chemistry of physical attraction sufficient enough. I didn’t want to pretend just to have everyone think I looked like I had a picture perfect life with a beautiful girl.”
Prior to ending his engagement, Archuleta said that one of his friends told him her story about her marriage to a man who was part of the LGBTQIA+ community, explaining, “He tried to hide it too until he couldn’t anymore and she found out over a decade into their marriage.”
“The anger and hated he felt. The way he acted out on that. I felt sorry for her,” he said. “But she is related to her ex husband her so much. I felt that same anger and hatred and resentment building and growing inside of me already. I didn’t want to be that. I knew the way to find peace was to let all of me come forward and not judge or despise myself. It’s made all of the difference.”
He described coming out as “scary” and “terrifying,” adding, “You consider ending your life as a better option than coming to terms with being gay or lgbtqia+. I just want to let any of you going through that struggle know that it’s beautiful to be lgbt+.”
“Even if others don’t understand. Dare to be you,”he continued in the comments, offering his support his to individuals going through the same struggles he had. “If those around you still don’t understand you will draw people to you who will love you for all of you! Not only for the parts they want to see and not just under conditions of you hiding your queerness because they don’t understand what that experience is like.”
Archuleta recalled where he was a year ago when he wrote his original post, acknowledging that while he may be a day early to his one year anniversary of coming out, he wanted to honor the moment by sitting in the exact same spot in his yard.
“They call it pride month. I’m learning what that means for me,” he said. “To have pride in who all I am is. Including being gay or bi or queer. Idk what word to use I think queer is a good broad term lol. But I’m not too worried about picking either. I’m letting myself figure myself out with time.”
After spending 30 years of his life attempting to “disregard” his identity, he said he knows it will take time to truly and wholly understanding who he is.
“I never thought it was something to be proud of but rather ashamed and why I tried so hard to change,” he said. “I see why they encourage pride when we’ve always associated queerness with shame. But it really is something that is beautiful. So I hope you strip that shame and hate you may feel for yourself and replace it with love. Happy pride.”
In August 2021, Archuleta spoke with TODAY about his decision to publicly come out as LGBTQIA+ that June and the public reaction he received not only from media outlets, but from his followers, too.
“I was shocked because I thought, ‘OK, this is probably gonna be a bigger deal, maybe I’ll get 30,000 or 40,000 likes, if that,’ because I know this is a controversial topic and a lot of people have assumed things about me and tried to label me in the past,” he told TODAY last year. “But it exploded. I didn’t realize all the media outlets were going to talk about it, but the way that they did, it was so respectful.”
After years of grappling with his own sexuality growing up with a religious background, Archuleta shared what eventually inspired him to come out publicly. The singer said that before he published the Instagram post his, he prayed and had a conversation with God, who he said encouraged him to come out.
“When I had that prayer, God just said, ‘David, you know I trust you, right? I want you to post about what you’re going through right now,’” he explained. “It was just so clear what I needed to say. I knew exactly what I needed to say but I feel uncomfortable saying it because I like to keep to myself, especially with this kind of stuff. But I just knew I had to.”