A.J. McLean (Getty Images)
The Backstreet Boys singer opened up to Pride Source about all things LGBT, including his gay friends, fans, and hopes for marriage equality. The 35-year-old, who memorably dressed in drag for a photo shoot prior to his 2011 wedding to wife Rochelle, even declared himself the "f*g hag" in his group.
"I've been in this business since I was 3 and I grew up in musical theater, so I was raised and surrounded by gay men and gay women," McLean told the website. "I was hardly around anyone straight."
As for what it feels like for gay fans of the Backstreet Boys wishing one of the members turned out to be gay, McLean said, "I think it's awesome. It's great. I've worn a dress at my wedding. I've worn 6-inch Louboutins. I've got no fear and no shame."
Though he says most fans think it's another member of the group, not him.
"There's one [fan] named Matt and he's a big, big Nick Carter fan," he continued. "He's this older gentleman from Tampa and he's gay, and he's been following us during this whole tour from China to Japan and now through the U.S. I think he really hopes that Nick might have a little bit of gay."
McLean then added, "I don't think he does. I'm gonna say no."
While members of other boy bands, including New Kids on the Block and 'N Sync, have come out in recent years, McLean says not to expect it from his own.
"Everyone always says, 'When you look at a boy band, one of them has to be gay,'" he said. "No, they don't. Instead of me being gay, I'm the f*g hag."
The singer went on to say that he was the driving force behind the band's new video for "In a World Like This," which celebrates marriage equality.
"It stemmed from me personally," he said. "I have a lot of gay friends and two of my best friends have been together for almost 10 years. And living in California, it's been so friggin' frustrating to me that they could not get it right; they couldn't pass the bill. Then, literally, right after we dropped the video, they actually passed the bill [allowing LGBT people to legally married] in California, and I was just ecstatic.
"I just love the fact that people love each other, no matter if they're the same sex or not. I think everybody's equal, period."
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