"American Idol" star David Archuleta on Sunday (in Manila) came out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, saying one can be queer and still believe in God.
Archuleta detailed his struggle with his sexuality and faith, despite being uncomfortable sharing it, in a lengthy note posted on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. June is Pride Month.
"You can be part of the LGBTQIA+ community and still believe in God and His gospel plan," said Archuleta, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I've tried for almost 20 years to try and change myself until I realized God made me how I am for a purpose. And instead of hating what I have considered wrong, I need to see why God love[s] me for who I am and that it's not just sexuality."
The singer-songwriter said he has been open to himself and to his family about his sexuality. He went on to say that he came out as gay to his family in 2014, but later added that he had similar feelings for both genders. “Maybe a spectrum of bisexual," he said.
He also revealed he's asexual - a lack of sexual attraction - which he said "works" to save himself from sex until marriage.
In late 2011, Archuleta said he would become a full-time missionary for the Mormon Church.
The “American Idol” Season 7 finalist said he is sharing his story publicly because he knows so many people like him from religious upbringing feel the same way.
He asked people to be more compassionate and understanding to those who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
"I think we can do better as people of faith and Christians, including Latter-day Saints, to listen more to the wrestle between being LGBTQIA+ and a person of faith," he said, adding that he thinks "it should not come down to feeling you have to accept one or the other."
"If other people choose to live differently than what you've been raised to believe is right, please have compassion because it's most likely been an exhausting journey for them to be ok with the feelings they have and never have been able to change."
Archuleta said he believes being open to questions on faith and sexuality is how people like him could receive answers. "So let's keep asking and seeking."
"You're not alone," he said.
Archuleta has visited the Philippines in the past to perform and has also recorded some Filipino songs.
— with a report from Reuters