“I don’t think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I’m gay,” Lambert told Rolling Stone.
Even if he kept his fans in varying degrees of suspense about his sexuality, Lambert said he realized he was gay when he was young.
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”I started to realize I wasn’t like every other boy,” said Lambert, who appears on the magazine's cover next to the words "Wild Idol," and wearing black as a green snake slithers cringingly close to his crotch.
Lambert said he resisted outing himself after losing in the final round to Kris Allen, and then took a swipe at Clay Aiken, another uncloseted runner-up who has had unkind things to say about Lambert's vocal stylings.
“Right after the finale, I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, ‘I’m going to wait for Rolling Stone, that will be cooler,’ ” Lambert said. “I didn’t want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bull----. I need to be able to explain myself in context."
The 27-year-old San Diego native said he's fine with being gay, but don't look for him to go the activist route.
“I’m proud of my sexuality,” Lambert said. “I embrace it. It’s just another part of me.
But, he added, "I’m trying to be a singer, not a civil rights leader."
Lambert says he was inspired to audition for the Fox network singing competition after having a “psychedelic experience” at the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada, where participants exchange gifts and embrace self-expression and community.