Jameela Jamil says she did not come out as queer sooner over fears people would claim she was 'jumping on a trendy bandwagon'

'You don’t actually know my sexuality' says Jamil

Sarah Young
Wednesday 22 April 2020 10:11
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Jameela Jamil comes out as queer following backlash to casting

Jameela Jamil has opened up about the reasons why she did not come out as queer sooner.

Earlier this year, The Good Place star was at the centre of criticism after it was announced that she had been cast as a judge and MC on an upcoming HBO voguing competition called Legendary.

Jamil’s involvement in the programme sparked some backlash online, with several people sharing their belief that those cast in the show should have connections to the ballroom scene and LGBT+ community, from which voguing originates.

Following the backlash she received, Jamil released a statement on Twitter outlining that she identifies as queer.

However, her admission lead to further disapproval from members of the LGBT+ community, with many accusing Jamil of using coming out as a reason to be exempt from such criticism.

Now, the former radio host has clarified the reason why she left it so long to make her sexuality public, revealing that it was “because I was worried that people would think I was jumping on a trendy bandwagon.”

Jamil, who has been in a high profile relationship with a man for the past five years, went on to explain that she accepted the criticism over the timing of her decision to come out but condemned the fact that people felt able to dismiss her identity because she appeared visibly straight.

“I understood, because of the timing. I was never trying to divert from [the criticism],” Jamil explained in a new interview with the Guardian.

“I was just trying to add to the conversation; that I’m not saying this qualifies me as a part of ballroom [culture], but you don’t actually know my sexuality.”

The 34-year-old continued by saying she did not understand the claims that she was lying about being queer.

“What a weird lie,” she said. “It doesn’t help to identify yourself in any way in an industry that still discriminates against people.

“But the rest of it, I understood. That’s why I didn’t come back complaining.”

Jamil previously acknowledged that she chose an “inappropriate” moment to come out.

Jameela Jamil has been in a relationship with musician James Blake for five years (Getty)

Describing the events as a “perfect clusterf***” on Instagram, Jamil wrote an extended caption alongside a selfie that had the word “f***” written across it.

“The sequence of events was insane, a misunderstanding was left uncorrected for too long, and misinformation spread too far, too fast” she wrote.

“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 traumatised, it always feels like it might just f***ing burst out of you at any given moment, even the most inappropriate and unfortunate ones.”

She continued to thank her fans for “the thousands of messages of kindness” and personal letters she had received from people coming out to her privately.

“I don’t take it lightly and am happy for you that you felt ready to tell even one person,” Jamil wrote.

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