Greek French singer George Perris revealed he's gay in an interview with People magazine, opening up to Jeff Nelson on how George Michael inspired him to live authentically.
"I do not consider this a coming out, in the sense that I never went into a closet," Perris, 38, said during the Zoom interview from his home in Athens.
"I never hid my life. I've always lived the way I wanted to; it's just that I didn't have the courage to talk about it publicly."
"I grew up believing that there was something wrong about me because, at the time, when you were a kid in the '80s or '90s, you came to believe there was something wrong with you," he says. "Back then, people would always use words like 'tolerant' or 'open-minded,' and I always hated those terms because I think they hide a defiance; there's contempt to it. I don't want you to tolerate me. I want you to accept me because we're 100 percent equal."
In the interview Perris admits to hiding his sexuality through his childhood, partly because there were no queer roles models and representations.
"I was raised in a society where you had no way of seeing the normality of a gay relationship," he says. "It was not on TV. It was not in the media. It was not a part of any discussion."
"My first experience with a public figure coming out was George Michael. I was 15 years old at the time, and to me, that was like a revelation because I had never even thought that it was possible," Perris says. "I didn't know You could have a superstar who was an extremely talented and incredible artist and a beautiful man and everything and he was gay, and he was living a normal life."
"It took me a while to accept it." After coming out to some close friends in his late teens, he told his family he was gay in his early 20s: "There was a little bit of backlash, but everyone was fine, and they all accepted it."
"Even though in my private life, I wasn't hiding anymore at all, as a singer, as a public figure, it had a cost for me because there was a part of me that wanted to talk about it," Perris says of his sexuality. "A lot of people told me, 'You shouldn't come out,' 'You shouldn't talk about that publicly,' 'It'll destroy your career.'"
Early last year George Perris released his highly anticipated song “Disobey”.
The Greek-French vocal sensation collaborated with Moh Denebi and Mark Caplice to create an inspiration single that has received endless positive reviews.
“Sometimes a guy just wants to have fun..! For those of you who have struggled, who have been bullied, abused or not believed in yourself for all sorts of reasons… this one’s for you!” the musician said.
“‘Disobey ‘ will surely become the soundtrack of our carefree moments that we so desperately need,” he added.