Our friends across the pond seem to get out in the lead on most things gay. Civil partnerships. Multiple political parties vying for our love. And out boybanders. They already anted up Stephen Gately of Boyzone, and we called with Lance Bass of N’Sync. Now they’ve raised us Duncan James, of Blue.
The interview with News of the World comes as Duncan and his group, Blue, prepare a
greatest hits reunion tour and album they announced in April. Blue disbanded in 2004, after a three year
run that included 11 Top 10 hits, and three #1 songs.
Duncan James, Simon Webb, Lee Ryan, and Anthony Costa
Duncan now joins a growing number of teen idols in European
pop that are coming out comfortably as something other than straight. There’s Boyzone’s Gately, Westlife’s Mark Feehily, and Pop Idol
winner Will Young, who have all come out as gay.
But Duncan is something else – he’s one of the few male celebrities
to come out as bisexual. And he seems aware of the skepticism his announcement could be
greeted with telling NOW, "I know most gay guys
think, ‘Bi Now, Gay Later’ and maybe one day the thought of being with a woman
won’t work for me. Mainly I just want to
be happy. I want to be in a long-term relationship and, most importantly, be in
Duncan says he had his first relationship with a man in
2001, just as Blue was taking off, and that he felt a responsibility to hide
it. And since he’s bisexual, he was
seeing the many women the rock-and-roll lifestyle afforded him in any case. He’s
been linked to everyone from Big Brother winner Kate Lawler to Spice Girl Gerri
Duncan’s best friend was his mother, who he came out to
first over a vacation in Los Angeles. He’d
been concerned about her reaction, as she had raised him a ‘strict Catholic’
but says she’s been nothing but supportive.
After mustering the courage for a
late night reveal, she told him “I love you, that doesn’t matter to me.”
Duncan’s bandmates seem perfectly comfortable with Duncan at a recent photoshoot
His bandmates have been the same, and he says they’re as
close as they ever were. Perhaps most
tellingly of that comfort, when the interviewer asks him on camera which of his bandmates
he’d like to date, he grins and says “Oh, I think we’d have a big old group orgy” with
all three of the men lunching behind him.
Duncan says he was ready to come out publicly while Blue
was disbanding in 2004, but when his girlfriend Claire became pregnant with his
daughter, he chose to hold off, fearing she might be teased at school.
Duncan understands “Being bisexual as a man is a taboo
subject but I’m 100 per cent happy with who I am.”
It’s a shame the paper he did the interview
with mostly agrees about the taboo part.
News of the World is a tabloid, and this was no People
Magazine, “Yep. I’m gay” article. Instead, the
paper went out of its way to sensationalize the story. The headline reads "Blue’s Duncan James: I have flings with men."
The teaser talks about “the incredible truth”
and that Duncan has “admitted” his gay secret.
Despite first person access to the singer, there’s no sense the journalist identified with
Duncan, or wanted to do anything other than shock the fans of the group.
Indeed, the article is riddled with words such as “confessed” and “shocking”
– and the timing is of course a bit suspect. Duncan hasn’t really dropped out of the public eye over the years; the
members of Blue went their own ways, with Duncan appearing in numerous theater productions
in the West End such as Legally Blonde and Chicago, and also as a TV presenter for
Soapstar Superstar, Eurovision, and for Disney U.K. Duncan also placed third on Dancing On
And on behalf of AfterElton.com, let me say what
News of the World didn’t: Welcome to the gayborhood, Duncan. We’re glad to