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: Front End Web Developer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Back End Web Developer

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£36500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenan...

The Jenrick Group: Multi Skilled Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Multi Skill...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Elton John and David Furnish finalise their marriage paperwork  

Don't be blinded by the confetti — the fight for marriage equality in the UK isn't over yet

Siobhan Fenton
Freeman, centre, with Lord Gladwyn, left, and Harold Wilson on the programme The Great Divide in 1963  

John Freeman was a man of note who chose to erase himself from history

Terence Blacker
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'