Lance Bass talks Finding Prince Charming, Pride, expressions of love and more

Lance Bass is staying busy – Logo just announced he'll be hosting their upcoming dating show, Finding Prince Charming! On top of that, Lance is partaking in American Express's #ExpressLove campaign to encourage LGBTQ people to express their love in big ways and small.

GLAAD's Matt Gehring spoke with Lance this week about Finding Prince Charming, #ExpressLove and how he's living out and proud after Orlando. This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Matt Gehring, GLAAD: What would you say it means to be out and gay in 2016 in the U.S.? How is it different today from when you came out?

Lance Bass: Oh my God – the temperature is so much better these days. I feel like just 10 years ago, it was so hard to be able to say who you are because the majority of the world was so against you, and there was so much hatred. But now, I feel that when people come out, it's just so much more accepted and it's a way more positive experience.

MG: In a GLAAD video last year with Michael, you talked about acceptance and said that your wedding special on E! could possibly help with visibility. Did you see any first-hand changes in people regarding their acceptance following Lance Loves Michael?

LB: Oh yeah, bigtime. Every day I get someone tweeting at me, or commenting on my Instagram about how that special helped them discover who they really were and let them know that they can love whoever they want to love. And that's exactly what I wanted to achieve. I wanted people to watch that special and be able to relate to someone, and just like me – if there's a gay kid from Mississippi thinking he's the only gay in the village, I really wanted that to be on television so small-town gay kids get to see something that they can look up to and that they can relate to. And I hope that it helps them just like I wish it could have helped me when I was a little kid.

MG: Now you're working with American Express on their #ExpressLove campaign, which is really about the little things that people within the LGBTQ community do every day to show their love. So I want to ask you, what's one your favorite little things you like to do to express your love?

LB: One thing I do for my husband where I really express my love is I cook for him. One of my favorite things to do is make him a meal and he loves to eat, so it's kind of our little bonding thing. We'll get in the kitchen and as I cook, he's my sous chef and we'll pretend we're on Hell's Kitchen and that's kind of our bonding, fun experience.

MG: How important do you think it is for out LGBTQ people to be open about expressing their love?

LB: It's so important – you still hear stories of people getting beat up because they were holding their husband and boyfriend's hand. The more visibility we have with people expressing their love in public only helps us progress that much quicker and that much further. You have to get over that stigma that people have of the gay community. It's out of the norm for so many people and until they are aware of someone or get to know someone, they really can't change their mind about someone. The more that we're just being ourselves and showing people who we love and not being afraid of it, the better and quicker we're going to advance our community.

MG: In other terms of expressing love, Logo announced their show Finding Prince Charming which you'll be the host of! Why do you think the world could use a show like this?

LB: Well, it's one of those things where I can't believe this hasn't happened on television yet. It's all about that visibility thing – you know, even with my wedding special, that being the first wedding special on television for the gay community, that even surprised me. I was like, really? No one has had a wedding special before in the LGBT community? It just shows us as equal. Even with reality shows and dating, we've never had anything like that before. This just shows that people want to see a show like this and it's just a great way to show the world what it's like to date in this community and to show the gay community what it's like to date.

Like I said before, being a small-town gay kid, you might not even know another gay person so you've definitely never been in the dating scene. To see guys go through this situation where they're trying to find love and they're going to see these guys dating, that's just going to encourage them to be more themselves and maybe relate to a lot of these guys who are going to be in the house.

MG: As host, how involved are you going to be with the guys as they try to find love?

LB: Very involved! The great thing about it is, our prince charming and I spend every day together. I'm supposed to be his wing-man through this whole process. A lot of the time, he doesn't really get to talk to anyone except me, and half the time he doesn't even know what's happening in the house because he's not in there, and me and the producers don't let him know what's going on until the guys tell him, because we want it to be very authentic. I love being his wing-man. I'm there for him for whatever he needs.

It's been a really fun experience, an emotional rollercoaster for sure on this show. I didn’t really expect that. I'm a huge reality television fan, I love it. I watch shows like Tila Tequila, The Bachelor, you name it, I've watched it. Big Brother is my favorite show in the whole world! So to be able to experience this, especially with a gay show like this, I'm so proud to be a part of this history and it's definitely been rewarding. With everything coming out with this show, it's so much different than I thought it would be. 

MG: We just recently wrapped up Pride month in the U.S. and I know you attended many events following the shooting in Orlando. How was Pride different for you this year?

LB: Pride was very different for me this year. Every year, I've gone to Pride here and there. I feel like I'm always out of town when LA Pride is happening. But this year, I really made an effort to show up and show face. Our community was really scared after Orlando and there were a lot of threats on our community. Even the day of the LA parade, you had someone get caught with a bunch of guns and ammunition in their car heading to the parade. That just really scared everyone and a lot of people didn't want to come out of their houses. I just wanted to show people that we shouldn't be afraid at all; we have to be ourselves and I wanted to be visible at as many as I could. I'll be in Orlando this weekend and I'll be going to Austin Pride coming up.

It continues and it's really great to see people celebrating our community and not being scared, and really celebrating how far we've come. I know it sounds like the world is ending if you listen to certain politicians out there, but really, it has gotten so much better. Just in the last couple years, we can all get married, we can all adopt children now. Things have progressed so far and we should be happy about that and proud of that and celebrate it, and not look at all the negative that's going on in the world right now.

MG: In your opinion, what's next for the LGBT community?

LB: Still, there are several states that have passed some anti-gay laws. Those are things that we're still going to fight against and make sure that those don't get implemented. Because of same-sex marriage, people really have dug their heels in and are trying to bring us back to the fifties again. We have to make sure that these laws don't secretly get placed into law. You know, I'm from Mississippi, so that HB1523 law was really snuck in overnight and no one really paid attention to it until it was too late. Those things can't happen anymore and we have to continuously fight all these sneaky politicians that are doing things for their own agenda. Most of these politicians don't even care about same-sex marriage and all that, they just want to be re-elected again. They're pandering to some very ignorant and uneducated people.

MG: Now that we're more than a month following the shooting in Orlando, what do you think is next in the healing process for LGBT people across the country and across the world?

LB: The healing has begun and it continues. We'll never forget what all of our brothers and sisters have gone through in the last hundreds of years. This isn't the first tragedy the LGBT community has had – there have been several. You can't forget it, because history repeats itself. There's always going to be awful things like this happening. You can't stop it; as long as there are ignorant people, these things are going to happen. You just have to live your life and can't be scared. 

MG: What else can we look forward to seeing from you, LGBTQ-related and beyond?

LB: Well, my favorite thing of course is Finding Prince Charming, which I'm so excited I finally get to talk about it! We've been shooting it for so long and I've not been able to tell anyone about it except my husband, and that's coming out very, very soon. I'll just be hot and heavy promoting that in the next couple of months. And then, who knows after that? I kind of go from one project to the next. After that, I have a FOX show, a cooking show that comes out in January so I'll be really focusing on that after this Logo show.