On a clear, crisp and hot night in Las Vegas, Neon Trees singer Tyler Glenn stood loud and proud before 1,200 fans and told them he is gay — not so much news anymore, since he publicly came out nearly two months ago in Rolling Stone, but an affirmation of who he is, live and in person. Several months after the Mormon singer’s big announcement, Glenn says the response has been “interesting.”
“There was a real outpouring [of support] the day and the week it became public,” he says. “And it was really kind and nice that a lot of Mormon people and leaders and friends of the family were really cool and chill and didn’t give a second thought about it, which was surprising because I expected maybe they would be the people who works have a problem with it. And I actually got more guff from atheists saying that ‘It’s OK that you’re gay, but you’re still Mormon? You still believe in that?’ That was funny. That was unexpected.”
The Mormon church has not formally said anything to Glenn, nor does he really expect it to. Still, Glenn, who on this Las Vegas night says he was having a “pity party” about his life before coming out of the closet, insists he didn’t announce he was gay for anyone other than himself. It wasn’t about his successful band. It wasn’t about proving something to the Mormon church. It was all about him. But his place in pantheon of gay musicians isn’t lost on him either.
“I don’t think of myself as a role model but I’m realizing in many ways I am,” he says after telling a story about a gay fan who recently told him that his music and his strength to announce his sexual orientation opened up dialogue with a sister she hadn’t spoken to in years.
All in all, Glenn has no regrets about his decision to come out. Currently touring in support of the group’s album Pop Psychology, he said he still feels like he he’s coming out every night during a moment in the show where he speaks from the heart about his struggles with his career and sexuality.
“I think it’s really cool and I don’t mind talking about it,” he said. “It’s something I’m not afraid of anymore.”