Janelle Monáe Talks Sexual Identity & Queer Politics In Interview With PAPER Magazine
Janelle Monáe is continuing her campaign of being gawgeous inside and out.
Part of her motivation is due to her experience growing up Black and queer in the Baptist church in Kansas City:
“I was like eight,” she said. “I don’t think I actually knew how I identified. I knew that I was attracted to women, girls, men, boys. I knew that.”
She went on to describe how people treated a Black gay man who was friends with her aunt:
“It was because of Black men who thought he was trying to come onto them, but he wasn’t,” she said, “It was their own ignorance and insecurity and fear that led them to lash out. When I saw that…to be a gay Black man, and Black men are like the ‘heads of the households’ and I’m a Black woman, this young kid. I thought, then it’s really over for me.“
She then said she’s glad her openness about her sexuality today has helped others, especially with her album Dirty Computer:
“There’s so many young people who grew up in the South or Baptist families, who were told that they won’t be accepted by Christ. They can listen to this album and feel hugged. They can feel loved. They can feel seen. They can feel heard. That’s the most beautiful thing.”
Janelle also got political when talking about sexual identity, saying she thinks it should be “taught in school.” She continued:
“There should be courses on mental health, how to coexist, how we can all learn from each other.”
Finally, she explained how she always follows the leadership of the most marginalized, specifically trans women of color who are continually being killed at alarming rates.
“I look to Indya Moore, Mj Rodriquez, Janet Mock (my Pose family)… Laverne Cox, those women are putting themselves and their lives on the frontline everyday. When their trans sisters and brothers get murdered, they feel it. We have to support them… It’s just a responsibility I feel. I could do better. I’ll do better.
For more of Janelle’s words, you can check out the full interview here.