Jane Czyzselska: Jessie J gets the Rock Hudson treatment

Why being gay is 'bad for business', even now

Share
Related Topics

Poor Jessie J. The ridiculously successful "Do It Like a Dude" singer speaks openly as a proud bisexual, sings a song about being true to yourself, then someone comes along and ruins it all by claiming she's a fake.

According to a new, unauthorised biography, Who's Laughing Now? The Story of Jessie J, not only is The Voice star allegedly a lesbian, she's also had the thumbscrews put on her by her record company, Universal, who apparently forced her to hide her Sapphic ways in favour of a bisexual image or risk her contract.

Judging by what the book's author, Chloe Govan, has written, Jessie had made no secret of her sexuality since realising she was gay in her teens, and was incensed by the demand, which was framed as a way of protecting her interests from "rampant" homophobia: "She was advised not to come out, though. Certain people thought being bi was trendy, exotic and a fashion statement. It would increase her allure."

There's so much wrong with this, it's hard to know where to start with the ideological sledgehammer. But let's kick off with the evidently vexing notion of bisexual and lesbian sexual identities. That "certain people" view a bi identity as less commercially suicidal than a lesbian one is predicated on a belief that anything outside of heterosexuality is aberrant, and therefore a threat to patriarchal social organisation.

That may sound old school but then so are "certain people's" views on the matter, it seems. Why are there fewer out A-list lesbian celebrities than there are out gay celebs? Take a wild guess? Could it be something to do with sexism and the fact that young women are still required to look pretty, and to present as if they are available to men?

The truth is that despite the recent move towards greater tolerance of lesbians, bisexuality is as misunderstood and misrepresented as ever. In one camp we have the folk who think bisexuals are fickle floosies, and in the other there are those who see bisexuality as a bridge to "normal" living because there's a 50/50 chance, theoretically, that the (usually conventionally attractive and young) woman in question may end up being schtupped by a chap.

Of course neither sexuality is better or worse than the other – both exist outside of "the norm", but in recent years, ever since, say, Katy Perry kissed a girl and liked it (and went on to become a global phenomenon as a result) this sexual identity has been hijacked by some, to the detriment of many bisexuals whose sexuality is not taken seriously.

But the allegations about Jessie's sexuality are not news to us at Diva. We've been aware of rumours that she's gay for some time now, just as we are about others. It's certainly not uncommon for us to receive emails from music PRs that read "thanks, but Xxxxx has no press time at present" from the closeted lesbian popstrels' minders we approach (and there are many). Indeed, save for Gossip's wonderful Beth Ditto (on our cover next month) it's nigh on impossible to get A-list lesbian pop stars to agree to grace our cover. It's strange to think that so little has changed since the days of someone like Rock Hudson who had to lead (almost) the same kind of double life over 50 years ago.

When we do strike gold and convince PRs to let us feature their closeted stars, often it's on the condition that we're not to touch on the thorny issue of sexuality, so a question about what it's like to be gay in the heterocentric music biz, or a mention of a same-sex partner or a love song written for a woman is out of bounds.

It's not as though we want to harp on about our cover stars' sex lives anyway – we just want to live in a world where it's not considered "bad for business" to be openly gay.

Jane Czyzselska is the editor of 'Diva'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
 

The two most important parts of Obama’s legacy could be on the brink of collapse, and this time there's no back-up plan

David Usborne
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn