In an interview with Attitude magazine, Jake Shears — the 39-year-old frontman of the campy rock band, Scissor Sisters — revealed that he dated a 33-year-old man when he was a 16-year-old high school student. Although he called the relationship “confusing,” it was technically legal as the age of consent in Washington state (where he attended high school) is 16.
Shares attended Friday Harbor High School in San Juan Island, Washington, and came out at age 15; his parents reportedly had a negative reaction. A year later, he started dating the older man.
He told Attitude, “It wasn’t the best or entirely appropriate. I was lucky in the fact that I didn’t feel taken advantage of. He taught me how to play the guitar and introduced me to a lot of great music. But still, there was a lot of confusing, hurt feelings that surrounded the scenario that I could have done without.”
In October 2010, Shears talked more about his high school experience in an “It Gets Better” video to help encourage young LGBTQ not to despair.
In the video, Shears said that he assumed that he’d be safe coming out in his large high school of 2,000 students. But when he started telling other students that he was gay, he was harassed, followed and received death threats. He regularly got attacked in the hallways and had other students throw desks and chairs at him in class. Teachers ignored the abuse and the principal blamed him for “not keeping his private life private.”
But things have improved considerably in Shears’ adulthood. Earlier this month, Shears revealed that he will join the Broadway cast of the musical Kinky Boots in 2018 in the role of Charlie Price, a young man who inherits a shoe factory from his father, and later forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots and save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all.
Last month, Shears released a surprise solo single and has a forthcoming solo album due out soon.