Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes has a voice – and he certainly knows how to use it.
The Brisbane-born musician has taken to Twitter to say he is scared to hold hands with his husband Richard Cullen in public because of the stigma that still exists around same-sex relationships.
Hayes, 44, first married Cullen in 2005 and then entered into a civil partnership with him the following year in the UK. The pair married again in 2013 in California as an act of solidarity for all those fighting for marriage equality around the world.
Hayes was responding to a tweet from US comedian Riley Silverman, who asked: “If you’re an out queer person in a ‘liberal bubble’ city, RT this if you’ve felt uneasy or threatened just for minor PDA with your partner.”
“I’m out, I’m married, I’m a ‘celebrity’ and I still feel unsafe holding hands in many public situations. That’s a reality,” Hayes tweeted.
Last year, Hayes wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, asking him to take action to support gay marriage in the wake of the Orlando massacre.
“I can tell you first hand – being able to marry the person I love and to live in countries where my marriage is recognised – probably saved my life,’ he told the PM.
“I struggled tremendously with anxiety and depression related in part to my sexuality and growing up in a time when to be gay felt to me like a death sentence.
“I was bullied, I was tormented and eventually I convinced myself the person my mother gave birth to was something to be ashamed of.
“I buried my sense of self and in turn developed a sense of self-hatred and shame that almost cost me my life…
“As a gay Australian who has proudly represented his country globally, it saddens me that my marriage is recognised both in the United Kingdom and in the United States but means nothing in my country of birth,” he wrote.
Hayes also used his celebrity status in the lead-up to the US presidential election, urging his Facebook followers not to vote for Donald Trump because of claims he may overturn same-sex marriage laws.
“I’m tired of of men in suits telling women what to do with their bodies and happy families like mine and Richard’s that we are a stain on this world,” he wrote.
“Prior to a huge shift in public thinking, I lived for years in shame, hating myself and sometimes so depressed I wanted to leave this planet.”