Adam Lambert: I'm Proud to Be Gay

"American Idol" runner-up Lambert: "I'm a singer, not a civil rights leader."

ByABC News
June 9, 2009, 10:23 AM

June 9, 2009— -- After months of speculation about his sexuality, "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert has finally come out, telling Rolling Stone magazine, "I don't think it should be a surprise to anyone to hear that I'm gay."

"I'm proud of my sexuality," he adds. "I embrace it. It's just another part of me."

As to why he did not come out publicly earlier, Lambert says, "I'm trying to be a singer, not a civil rights leader."

Watch Adam Lambert's interview on "20/20" FRIDAY at 10 p.m. ET.

The 27-year-old musical theater veteran also reveals that it was a drug-fueled "psychedelic" experience at the Burning Man arts festival that led him to audition for "Idol."

"I realized that we all have our own power, and that whatever I wanted to do, I had to make happen," he says.

Lambert's revelation comes on the heels of a new recording contract and announced plans to release a debut album this fall on RCA Records. Lambert signed with 19 Recordings, owned by "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller.

The interview follows almost two weeks after "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardisaid on ABC's "The View" that there's no way he's not gay.

Asked by Barbara Walters whether Lambert's perceived sexuality may have influenced "Idol" voters to pick clean-cut Kris Allen over him, DioGuardi said, "Well, first of all, I hope not ... because we should be judging on talent and viability in the music industry and they both [Lambert and Allen] had that."

Either way, she said, "I don't think that Adam [Lambert] was ever in [the closet]," DioGuardi continued. "I think he was always openly out."

When Walters asked again if the new "Idol" judge thinks Lambert "was always openly out," because that wasn't necessarily the public perception, DioGuardi countered, "I think he was. I mean from what I've seen ... I do. I never thought he wasn't."

Prior to his Rolling Stone interview, Lambert never publicly acknowledged that he's gay. His penchant for eyeliner, nail polish and hair gel led many to believe that he is homosexual. A YouTube video in which he declares kissing girls is "not necessarily" his preference and photos of him making out with guys bolstered that assumption.