When Jameela Jamil came out as queer last month, it was amidst a conflama around her casting as one of the judges on HBO’s new unscripted voguing competition Legendary.
The world of ballroom – of which voguing is a central part – has largely been inhabited by queer people of colour, as seen in Ryan Murphy’s hit series Pose.
Jamil was accused of “appropriating ballroom culture” and taking a judging spot from someone more closely associated with the world that Legendary is looking to honour and celebrate.
After mounting pressure, Jamil posted a statement on social media stating that she was in fact "queer" and hadn't come out publicly earlier due to pressures from her background and to avoid “the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping”.
At the time, she said she didn’t want to talk about the announcement with the press, but now, in a new interview with The Times, she’s opened up about her sexuality – aligning it more with bisexuality or possibly pansexuality than just the umbrella term “queer”.
“People are still kind of stuck in the linear and don’t understand the spectrum of sexuality,” she said.
“I guess I’m bisexual, but also quite fancy everyone. I don’t know if that means that I’m pansexual. But I don’t just fancy cis straight men; I fancy everyone.”
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Jamil – best known for her acting work on Netflix comedy The Good Place – is in a relationship with musician James Blake. The pair have been together since 2015.
In a subsequent statement to her coming out post, she described the events that led to it as “a perfect clusterfuck” and encouraged others to come out in their own time.
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Well. Last week was a perfect clusterfuck. It was completely overwhelming. The sequence of events was insane, a misunderstanding was left uncorrected for too long, and misinformation spread too far, too fast, then my timing was bad, and in a moment of distress and pain, personal things were blurted out because when you have a secret for decades and you’re traumatized, it always feels like it might just fucking burst out of you at any given moment, even the most inappropriate and unfortunate ones. I thankfully chose the *most* inappropriate and unfortunate time, maybe ever, for mine. 👌🏽 So now you don’t have to feel embarrassed about yours. I PEAKED FOR ALL OF US! 👊🏽 But timing aside. Better out than in, and thank you for the thousands of messages of kindness and deeply personal letters from strangers and people I know, coming out to me privately. I don’t take it lightly and am happy for you that you felt ready to tell even one person. Do it whenever you feel the time is right, as long as you think you’ll be safe. Don’t feel bad for hiding it for as long as you need, and move at your own pace. But feel no shame about getting it off your chest and know you aren’t alone. There is a huge community of people who understand you, respect you and stand with you. On we go, hoping this week will be calmer than the last, and sending everyone the most love. Jam 🌈
“Don’t feel bad for hiding it for as long as you need, and move at your own pace,” she wrote. “But feel no shame about getting it off your chest and know you aren’t alone.
“There is a huge community of people who understand you, respect you and stand with you.”