Hayley Kiyoko has long been vocal about her sexual identity, but being proud of who she is has been a journey. On Friday, the singer appeared on an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, where she explained why being gay has become her "biggest strength" and opened up about her road to self-acceptance.
"My biggest weakness growing up was that I was gay and I was different from everyone else and now it's become my biggest strength because it's empowered me," the 28-year-old said. "I really feared growing up because I was like, 'Life is going to be so difficult and people are just not going to understand.' And going into my music career, I was just like, if I'm scared, everyone else will be. So, I have to embrace who I am, I have to be the brave one because if I take that first step, everyone else will follow."
And they have followed. The music video for her song "Girls Like Girls" has received over 100 million views on YouTube since its 2015 release, and shortly after her rise to fame, she was dubbed "Lesbian Jesus" by her massive following. Hayley continued explaining to Kelly that she hopes embracing her identity will help her fans "feel inspired and know that they can have a good life."
"They don't have to commit suicide, they don't have to not love themselves, they can be loved," she said. "And it's about all these incredible, powerful women, and just people in general, taking that first step and initiative to showcase that." See what else the singer had to say in the video above.