Introduction: Growing Up Gay (01:47)
Years & Years singer Olly Alexander is an out, gay man. He has also recently started to speak publicly out about his struggles with mental health. He wants to examine why members of the LGBT community are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
Managing His Mental Health (02:36)
Alexander and his band are writing and rehearsing for their second album. The singer takes medication and sees a therapist to manage anxiety and depression. Performing can be challenging, but band mates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen are supportive.
Facing Painful Memories (03:34)
Alexander revisits old journals to shed light on the roots of his problems. He recalls the confusion of his parents’ divorce, and he reads entries about cutting himself and eating disorders. He believes his repressed sexuality was at the core of his sadness.
Teary Exchange (05:16)
Alexander visits his mother, Vicki, in Coleford where they lived after the divorce. They watch old home movies and discuss bullying that Alexander experienced at school. Vicki confesses her fears and suspicions about her son's sexual orientation.
Besties Compare Notes (05:17)
Alexander explores the impact that shame had on his mental health. The singer visits his best friend from high school, George, and they visit an old haunt where they used to dance. George has had her own struggles with coming out and mental health.
A Young Man's Story (06:22)
Alexander's high school experience still haunts him. The singer meets Connor, a gay teen who dropped out because of bullying. A rumor led to him being thrown down a flight of stairs. Connor’s mother, Helen, recalls how she coped with her son being in crisis.
Hitting Rock Bottom (08:18)
Alexander recalls exploring the gay club scene after he moved to London, a period during which he overindulging in partying, sex, and drugs. The singer visits Shawn, who discusses substance abuse and other risky behavior that led to sexual assault and homelessness.
Breaking Dysfunctional Habits (05:48)
Secrecy often shrouds addiction, eating disorders, and other forms of self-harm. Alexander meets 21-year-old Tom, who had to leave school as he struggled with bulimia. The duo attends and eating disorders support group that is specifically for men.
Overcoming Stigma (04:31)
Alexander heads to East London to meet drag queen Johnny Woo. They organize a mental-health-themed night at The Glory, a local gay bar. Alexander makes an “honesty box” to allow patrons to safely express their deepest fears.
Back in the Classroom (05:23)
Alexander meets his friend Paris Lees and they lead a workshop organized by Diversity Role Models. The duo speaks to London high school students about bullying, coming out, and other issues that LGBT youth must face.
Falling Off the Wagon (05:37)
Alexander has an emotional visit with Shawn, who confesses he has recently lapsed in his recovery. The singer becomes upset because his friend seems to blame himself for being raped. Shawn seeks help from Antidote, England’s LGBT-centric recovery support group.
From Troubled Youth to Headliner (04:31)
Years & Years headlines the Mighty Hoopla Festival in London, and Alexander is painted gold and covered in glitter for the occasions. He reflects on the lessons he has learned over the last decade and shares an inspiring message onstage.
Credits: Growing Up Gay (00:39)
Credits: Growing Up Gay
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