Neon Trees Lead Singer Tyler Glenn Comes Out: ‘I Am a Happy and Healthy Mormon Gay Pop Star’


Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn comes out as gay in the new issue of Rolling Stone:

Glenn says he's known he was gay since he was a young child, but kept his sexuality a secret — until now. "I had my crushes on guys throughout high school, but it was never an overwhelming thing until my twenties," he admits. "Then I'd be dating girls and in love with my straight friend and it was the worst feeling in the world." (Read the full feature on tomorrow, March 25th).

"We were always taught, and I hate this word, 'tolerance,'" he says, regarding his church's stance on homosexuality, which is notoriously fraught. "The only time that felt different was when the Prop 8 thing came up," he says, referring to when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent an estimated $22 million fighting same-sex marriage in California in 2008.

Tweeted Glenn this afternoon:

"Yes. I am a happy and healthy Mormon gay pop star. I don't know what it all means, but I'm ok with it. "


  1. Magic Human says

    The best gay Mormons are gay ex-Mormons. What’s the point of staying with a hoax-based belief system that says you’ve got no chance of attaining the tippy-top Mormon afterlife and opposes your equal rights and freedom to make love to those you love while you’re alive?
    I do understand that for some, Mormonism is so insular that life outside the church is hard to imagine, but honestly, leaving that ridiculous business empire disguised as a church is the best thing any self-respecting gay or lesbian person can do.

  2. crispy says

    Well, there’s a woman in his band. She’s the drummer.

    Jason, do you ever tire of being wrong? I know the rest of us around here are tired of you.

  3. jjose712 says

    Oh come one, there are a lot of mormon pop and rock bands, and frankly none of them give me the same vibe that their church leaders.

    I refuse to believe that Mormons are that different from catholics.
    Here in Spain catholic hierarchy is very antigay, but the truth is catholics are a 70% in support of gay marriage

  4. Scar2 says

    He should talk to Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of The Killers. Flowers is a Mormon but has always been gay-friendly. It’s so easy for us to judge gay people who stay in their restrictive religion. I was raised Catholic & I don’t practice it anymore. However, as I got older, I’ve learned to appreciate the positive aspects of Catholicism rather than its negatives (too many to count). I do have gay friends who are still practicing Catholics & I can’t judge them. Most of them are actually happy & not self-loathing. At the end of the day, I think progress is easier to make inside than outside.

  5. will says

    This is the first I’ve heard of this band (wiki says they started up in late 2008 and have opened for the Killers and Panic! At the Disco). It is probably too early for Tyler to address himself as a “pop star”. A niggling point, but you really should become a “star” first.

  6. JJ says

    Gay mormons mystify me. Do they seriously think that Heavenly Father will give them a whole planet to rule in the afterlife? Sure, an asteroid, or maybe a small moon for real power tithers, but a whole planet? For a gay guy??? That’s ridiculous! A neutron star might be cool, though.

  7. m.r. says

    @Will Maybe it depends on where you live because they’re pretty well known here and their song “Everybody Talks” got lots of play out in this area (Chicago). They also have a new song out now that’s just getting play on pop radio now called “Sleeping With a Friend.”

  8. EchtKultig says

    “Flowers is a Mormon but has always been gay-friendly.”

    Nope, sorry, doesn’t work. Just as you can’t be a “black friendly member of the KKK”.

    I’m glad this guy is out because it was obvious that he was gay, and he was someone else Mormons could cling to as “look, he might _seem_ gay, but thanks to magic underwear he’s straight!” or whatever ridiculous thing they believed. Some of the most aggressive and freaky closet cases I’ve ever encountered have been Mormon.

  9. Robert says

    Uh, has anyone dug up all of the times this guy has denied this in the past? He even joked about it in a song: “I’m sick of being called a fag just because I’m queer.” Any time he explained it, he said it was tongue-in-cheek and he was straight! Didn’t buy it then.

  10. Robert says

    From wikipedia:

    Glenn had stated that misperceptions about his sexuality prompted the song “Teenage Sounds” from the Picture Show album; the song contains the lyric “I’m sick of being called a fag because I’m queer.” In an interview, Glenn explained what he meant by that lyric: “I thought of the line not in a sexual way but in fact that I’ve been called a fag since I was probably 11 years old for dressing different or listening to different music. For being me. I can only imagine how frightening it would be to be gay and be called that relentlessly.”

  11. EchtKultig says

    “I refuse to believe that Mormons are that different from catholics.”

    So, the Catholics believe you can become the God of another planet if you are a pious enough? Mormonism takes religious hookum to whole other level. That’s the funny thing about Western religions, if you notice. Each one had to be more ridiculous and sappy than the last. There’s a continuum from Judaism (there is God, there is you, you must follow God’s law) to Christianity (God likes you so much, he made a son like you, then killed him, and brought him back to life), Islam (honey coated virgins if you blow up airplanes), Mormonism (you become a God yourself if you donate to Prop 8), $cientology (you’re involved in an epic battle between aliens/Gods, and may already be the ghost of a god or spirit, pay us millions to find out), etc.

  12. tagg says

    I saw them open for Sting a few years ago and they were awesome…but he was Flaming so much it was laughable. You had to see it to believe it. My friend and I just laughed when he started talking about an ex GF…but good for him now!

  13. jjose712 says

    EchtKultig: You are very tiresome and close minded.
    Pretending that all mormons are exactly the same is just as stupid as the right wing nutjobs who think that all gays are exactly the same

  14. John says

    Of course people can hold conflicting beliefs, most of us do, but if someone is a tithing Catholic or Mormon (and I’ve only on rare occasions heard of any other kind), and if you supply them with your money via concerts, records, etc., then you are spending money to deny your own equality and access. Tithing is how they paid for their campaigns in California, Maine, Oregon, NH, MN, etc.

  15. Sam says

    My mother repeatedly emasculated me in public growing up. I loathe women and resent masculinity. Look how hard I’m trying to win your approval, mama.

  16. Derrick from Philly says

    Wait a minute…wait, wait, wait…wait. The first person I ever voted for in my life was a Mormon. I voted for in 1976 becasue he was liberal and progressive. His name was Morris Udall, and his two sons serve in the US Senate today–and they support civil rights for Gay folks.

    My favorite US Senator (and ex boer) is sexy Harry Reid–and he can kick azz.

  17. wheelie81 says

    Also, it still mystifies me to this day why queens have to be so hateful towards anyone with religious beliefs. I understand having resentment towards those that profess hatred towards LGBT people in the name of religion, but condemning all people of faith because of those few is just as bad. I will never understand how a minority group that is shown so much hatred and intolerance responds with even more hatred and intolerance.

  18. SpaceCadet says

    Wow, some of you have never heard of this band? Sure they’re not big like Katy Perry or Gaga but they did make a name for themselves already. They had the hit song “Animal” back in 2010. It was even covered on Glee.

  19. JJ says

    @WHEELIE81, those like me who denounce all religion–not just the violent ones–aren’t objecting simply to the content of people’s beliefs, but to how they arrive at their beliefs. Believing things without sufficient evidence (i.e., having faith)–or as Peter Boghossian puts it, pretending to know things you don’t know–is dangerous. Voltaire is famously quoted as saying, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” He went on to say (albeit in deistic terms):

    “If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.”

    The danger isn’t merely that some few people have violent beliefs. It’s that vast multitudes of people perpetuate the fallacy that faith is a legitimate and reliable path to truth. This enables those who fall into violent dogma to believe and claim that they reached their beliefs by legitimate means. Benign believers, though not directly violent, unwittingly endorse the foundation of extremism by legitimizing the practice of faith.

  20. atomic says

    I’m not surprised at all the flouncy bitchy queens who have never heard of Neon Trees, because the only music they listen to comes from straight female divas–Madonna, Cher, Britney, Beyonce, Lady Gaga…. Just because your meth-addled brain has never heard of a band doesn’t mean they’re not famous. It just means you’re ignorant of anything that isn’t spoon-fed and marketed to your prissy tastes, and you’re not the pop culture queen you think you are, so get over yourself.

    And while I’m hardly a fan of the LDS–or any religion for that matter, seeing as how it’s all superstitious dogma, it’s idiotic to ascribe the crimes of an entire faith to a single person. No one who breaks free of the brainwashing of organized religion does it overnight–showing hostility toward a newly out person for their religious upbringing and expecting them to discard their entire belief system while coming out is not only unrealistic, it’s counterproductive. Maybe for Tyler Glenn, this is just the first step toward freedom.

  21. Truthiness says

    while I do support double processed hair.

    I don’t support any Mormon. I don’t.

    If he’s paying his tithe, then he’s part of the problem. Just like Stephenie Meyers. Don’t be all I’m gay and it’s ok, but I still support the Mormon church that hates & works against you.


  22. Sergio says

    Considering your unhinged rant of two paragraphs, I think we know who here is a ‘flouncy, bitchy queen’. Just accept the fact that some people don’t even know what a ‘Neon Trees’ is. We have more important things to focus on than a garage band.

  23. gaymormon says

    As someone already said, it feels wrong to judge and generalize, since that’s something that we detest from others about the gay community. I’m a gay Mormon, and I get your criticisms regarding tithing and prop 8. I struggled with it myself. Bottom line is that going to church and believing in God gives me peace and happiness.

  24. says

    i hear that, gay Mormon.

    thing is, i’m a member of the united church of canada. we ordain LGBT ministers, perform wedding ceremonies for LGBT couples, and even mixed-faith or “non-believing” partners. we promote a humanist approach to scripture, we’re not dogmatic, and we have been, for many years, on the forefront of the human/civil rights movements. as well, there’s no caveat to the belief system of the UCC – no “and if you don’t believe this there’s an afterlife punishment” nonsense – which is indeed the mark of a cult.

    thing is….. you can’t say that about your church. both of our churches no doubt have wonderful senses of community, and affection. mine, however, comes with none of the bad that yours comes with.


  25. gaymormon says

    It’s my understanding that the majority of religions “officially” take the stance that, based upon the Bible, men shouldn’t lay with men. There are so many things that the Bible, or the widely accepted translation of the Bible, tells us that we can and can’t do. I go to my boyfriend’s Lutheran church sometimes, and he comes to my church. The basic messages that both churches preach are the same. Love, be good people, do well to others. I personally don’t believe we are the one true religion, but I’m comfortable here. And I believe we’re not perfect, just forgiven, like all Christians. And I believe it’s great that your church ordains LGBT.

  26. says

    your church would too, if only guys like you had the courage and integrity to stand up, speak out, and stop tithing :)

    alas, since you won’t, your church will continue to do what it’s done for many decades: help make suicide rates in Utah for men between 15 and 30 to be astonishingly high.

  27. EchtKultig says

    Jose…next time you go to the trouble of criticizing me, at least criticize something I actually said. Where did I say all Mormons were the same? I said, to summarize myself: Mormons as a group, deny homosexual agency; and that while Catholicism and Mormonism are both ridiculous, Mormonism is more ridiculous…as the the pattern has been for new religions to be more far fetched than the previous ones.
    Of course there are politically liberal Mormons…I knew Harry Reid was one. There are even politically liberal Muslims. (There’s even a very small branch of Islam which tends to be more moderate, though very few Americans have heard of it. I’m quite sure I know more about this topic than you do.) Their existence doesn’t make their religions less ridiculous; in fact it could be argued it makes them more ridiculous.

  28. EchtKultig says

    “Also, it still mystifies me to this day why queens have to be so hateful towards anyone with religious beliefs. ”

    Nope, we are critiquing (not hating) the beliefs and the oppression they cause, not the people who have them. Big difference.

  29. EchtKultig says

    couple more things:
    I don’t really follow pop culture that much – I don’t even watch E and only watch shows like Entertainment tonight once in a while – but I’ve heard of this band. I think they’ve performed on at least a couple talk shows. I’m trying to remember where I saw them…Letterman? So, yes they are fairly notable. Any typical person who follows mainstream/alt. bands would at least know who they are.

    “What’s up with all these Mormons in bands? The Killers, Neon Trees, Panic At The Disco, Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5…is there some LDS plot that we’re not aware of”

    LOL…I do sometimes wonder. One thing though, is that many Mormon households emphasize musical education. So, if you already know how to play guitar or another instrument, or even how to sing (still matters), you are probably more likely to start or join a band. It’s one barrier out of the way.

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