Singer Duncan James, best known as a member of the UK pop boyband Blue, has finally opened up about how he copes with homophobia as a public figure, and how he protects his daughter from it.
James initially came out as bisexual in 2009, and had a brief relationship with Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. He also has a daughter from his ex-girlfriend Claire Grainger, born in 2005. He amended his label to “gay” in 2012, and has since gone public with several relationships with men, including current boyfriend Rodrigo Reis.
Now, for the first time, James tells the UK publication The Sun about how he’s endured homophobia since coming out, and tried to protect his 16-year-old daughter from it.
“She is at an age where she is very much into her phone, and her friends are all on social media platforms like TikTok — it’s very much her life,” James says of his daughter, Tianie. “But she’s also aware that people could be horrible. People can be quite nasty about me being gay and say quite horrible things about the fact that I’m a gay dad. People have written to her, saying, ‘Isn’t it disgusting your dad’s gay? How do you feel? You must be ashamed of him’, and stuff like that, and you’re just like, ‘Why are you writing to a kid saying stuff like that? Are you really crazy?’ People are just awful.”
Related: Duncan James On Coming Out As Bisexual: “It Was Just Easier To Use That Word”
“I’ve had quite a lot of people from other countries writing to me in disbelief that I’m gay, saying I’m going to burn in hell, it’s a sin and I’m going to be punished by God,” he added. “I think it’s probably because they’re frightened about it or they don’t have the awareness or their religion has dictated that it’s wrong and it’s disgusting.”
For Jones, the best way to protect Tianie comes down to one simple plan: limiting her social media use.
“There’s that fine line,” he said. “We want her to have her privacy but as a parent you just have to be really vigilant and aware that it’s not a nice place out there sometimes. You want your kid to be protected and safe. That’s the most important thing.”
Jones also added that Tianie’s mother, Claire, also has become the target of homophobes. “Claire’s had abuse about me being gay too,” he admitted. “People reach out and be nasty, but she’s learned to just block people. It’s made us stronger.”
Still, despite the social media drama, Jones says he has no regrets about coming out or parenthood. In fact, he would like to have more children.
“For Rodrigo, having children is really important,” Jones says, “so we have talked about it. He’s said he would love to be a father at some point. The thing with me is I don’t want to commit to having a child until I am married and I know it’s a secure relationship. I think having a child is something you have to think long and hard about, especially in a gay relationship because it’s a lot harder.”
We have a feeling that won’t dissuade Duncan and Rodrigo.