“I immediately started crying not even knowing [fully] what had happened,” the *NSYNC star told The Huffington Post at the kickoff party for American Express’s #ExpressLove Pride campaign in New York on Monday. “It was one of those things where you just immediately feel defeated, and you feel like staying in bed all day.”
Instead, the 37-year-old pop singer and LGBT rights advocate opted to ride in L.A. Pride’s annual parade on a float with the stars of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Noting that he “had the best time being out, proud and not being afraid at all,” Bass lined up appearances at Pride events in New York, Denver and, of course, Orlando shortly thereafter.
“So much of the community is scared. They’re frightened,” he said. “I just wanted to show people that you shouldn’t be scared. Nothing’s going to stop me from being who I am, and waving the flag very proudly.”
The tragedy also strengthened Bass’s passion for the American Express Pride effort, which encourages users to share how they "express love" on social media and offers support for local advocacy groups, such as the Stonewall Community Foundation in New York.
“Even now, I find myself sometimes wondering if I should grab my husband's hand in public in certain places, and I should never have to think about it,” he said. “It’s not my problem. It’s their problem, if they’re against it.”
Last year, Bass and Turchin made history when they became the first real-life same-sex couple to tie the knot on an American television network. Their 2014 Los Angeles nuptials were broadcast on the E! special, “Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding,” in February 2015.
Bass told HuffPost that he and Turchin, who is an artist, are currently at work on a forthcoming men’s accessory line that will comprise of pocket squares, lapel pins and socks in “bright, vibrant colors.”
Gushing over Turchin, Bass said, “His art is so beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it because I love design, too. So I get to piggyback on his artistry.”
Leave it to Lance to provide some optimism for the LGBT community, especially when they need it the most.