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: Trainee Sales Consultants - OTE up to £35,000

£15000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Franchise Operations Manager - Midlands or North West

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The position will be home based...

Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent publishing and...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the Greeks can stay in the euro or end ‘austerity’, but not both

John Rentoul
The old 1,000 Greek drachma notes and current 20 euros  

Greece debt crisis: History shows 'new drachma' is nothing to fear

Sean O'Grady
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue