I read this week that, according to an unauthorised biography, Jessie J “was advised not to come out… [but] being bi was trendy, exotic and a fashion statement”. Aside from the hateful idea that a supposedly lesbian singer should hide her identity because it might alienate her audience, I am shocked that someone could actually think that bisexuality is merely a fashionable trend. I’ve heard of musicians keeping quiet about their sexuality, and about relationships so that deluded teenagers don’t end up heartbroken, but to be told to blatantly lie… if that’s true then it’s a disgrace.
I remember walking around The Doctor Who Experience with my two youngest nieces and hearing them talk all about how Captain Jack Harkness might fancy everyone, but the actor who plays him only likes boys. Because he’s gay. They didn’t like John Barroman any less because of this fact. It was just a fact. And I’m sure the younger of the two wouldn’t have been any less likely to sing and dance to Do It Like A Dude on the tube (much to the embarrassment of her mum!) if she knew that Jessie J only liked girls. It would simply be yet another piece of information about this pop star who she likes.
You might think that it’s a shame that Jessie J’s sexuality even matters. Some people say she should come out in order to be a role model to young lesbians, but why should she have to? Getting hung up on labels is no way to run your life. Surely she can be a role model to kids by saying that who she chooses to have a relationship with is unimportant to her music? The problem is that so many teenagers do have an issue with revealing their sexuality due to the opinions of others, and having someone in the public eye who you can relate to does mean an awful lot. You may not agree with everything they do, but the very fact they are well known just… helps. Your family may have preconceptions of LGBT folk, but famous people who are out and proud can help them realise that what they previously thought was incorrect. So-called friends might be quick to tease, but being like an international pop star is better than being like them, right?
Although a person’s sexuality shouldn’t matter, unfortunately it still does to some people. Everything we can do to try and start discussions about it is a good idea, because those people are then forced to deal with their prejudices. We might not like labels, but they’re a good reference point for those who are yet to understand. It’s a shame that what Jessie J said at G-A-Y last year was not more widely reported: “I’m not bisexual. I’m not gay. I’m not straight. If I love a girl, I love a girl. If I love a guy, I love a guy. I’m not going to label myself. I’m not going to put myself in a little box for people that don’t know who they are.”
Image via Jessie J’s website.