Singer David Archuleta, who at 17 was named the "American Idol" season 7 runner-up in 2008, has come out as LGBTQ.
"I like to keep to myself but also thought this was important to share because I know so many other people from religious upbringings feel the same way," the Miami-born and Utah-raised Mormon, 30, wrote on his social media Saturday. "I've been open to myself and my close family for some years now that I am not sure about my own sexuality. I came out in 2014 as gay to my family. But then I had similar feelings for both genders so maybe a spectrum of bisexual."
He added: "I also have learned I don't have too much sexual desires and urges as most people[,] which works[,] I guess[,] because I have a commitment to save myself until marriage. Which people call asexual when they don't experience sexual urges."
Later in his more than 600-word post, Archuleta asked for those reading "to please consider making room to be more understanding and compassionate to those who are LGBTQIA+," using the extended acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer / questioning, intersex and asexual / ally, plus "all people who have non-normative gender identity or sexual orientation," according to OutRight Action International.
"I think we can do better as people of faith and Christians … to listen more to the wrestle between being LGBTQIA+ and a person of faith," said the singer, who spent two years as a Mormon missionary. "I don't think it should come down to feeling you have to accept one or the other. For me to find peace the reality has been to accept both are real things I experience and make who I am."
On its website, the Mormons' Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it "acknowledges that same-sex attraction is a sensitive issue that requires kindness, compassion and understanding," and the church urges members to "create a welcoming environment. Those who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay can fully participate in the Church." However, it states, while "[t]he attraction itself is not a sin … acting on it is."
"I've tried for almost 20 years to try and change myself until I realized God made me how I am for a purpose," Archuleta said. "And instead of hating what I have considered wrong I need to see why God loved me for who I am and that it's not just sexuality. So many other traits of who I am come from how I've been created."
Among the supportive commenters on his Instagram page was singer and "American Idol" season 6 winner Jordin Sparks, who wrote, "I am so proud of you and proud to know you. You are so loved, David."