Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of the New Wave pop group Neon Trees who grew up in the Mormon church, says he’s gay and discusses his complicated relationship with the religion in a new interview.
“I’ve always felt like I’m an open book, and yet obviously I haven’t been completely,” he tells Rolling Stone.
Glenn, 30, began sharing his news with friends and family members last October as he was finishing writing songs for the new album for Neon Trees. The group is best known for the songs “Animal” and “Everybody Talks,” which he is seen singing in a Buick ad.
“I really love all of the sports figures that are coming out recently,” he says. “I appreciated [that] Michael Sam was like, ‘I want to be able to go to the movies and hold hands with my boyfriend.’ Even hearing him say ‘boyfriend,’ I was just like, that’s cool.”
Sam is the pro football prospect from the University of Missouri who came out in February.
Glenn grew up in Utah and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We were always taught, and I hate this word, ‘tolerance,'” he says of his experience with the church’s stance on homosexuality. “The only time that felt different was when the Prop 8 thing came up.” He was referring to the Mormon church’s strong support of California’s referendum to ban gay marriage, the measure ultimately ruled unconstitutional.