On Coming Out: Queen Latifah Won’t Let The Media Claim Her(Story), And Neither Should We

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Last week, Huffington Post’s article, ‘Queen Latifah Says She Did Not Come Out At Long Beach Pride Festival’ confirmed that although Queen Latifah performed at Pride and affirmed the crowd with messages of love, she in fact never revealed her sexual preference.

Prior to the event, online speculation commenced regarding whether or not the appearance would be a coming out opportunity, Queen states, “that definitely wasn’t the case.”

Throughout her 24 years in the industry, she has often expressed that her personal life is one she would like to keep to herself. Further elaborating, she claims, “I’ve never dealt with the question of my personal life in public. It’s just not gonna happen.”

And with this statement Queen revoked the media’s attempt to invade.

I believe that as a human being, Queen Latifah is entitled to her privacy. She does not owe it to the LBGTQ community, the media, or her fans to publicly address her sexuality. Nor should she be pressured to discuss any matter she does not wish to disclose.

In my opinion, coming out should not be a coerced experience. Indeed, it is an empowering act, but one should come to that decision when they are most comfortable with their sexuality and environment. For far too long society created stereotypes surrounding queer people of color and their private lives, and it is now our responsibility to revoke that power.

While some are discontent with Queen’s posture, a lesson can be acquired; which is to always demand respect and not allow others to rewrite your history for their own agendas. Oprah Winfrey embraces this attitude by openly discussing her past experiences, often revealing ‘truths’ before the media does it for her.

As queer women of color, we must embrace our experiences, pleasant and unpleasant, and not allow our stories to be misconstrued in the media. If we do not, they have the potential to be erased from history completely, much like the history of Native Americans and American slavery. Whether it is a coming out experience, trauma recovery, or experience(s) with discrimination, it becomes the individual’s duty to re-claim these narratives. In this manner, sharing her-stories becomes an empowering act allowing women to regain power in situations where it may have been revoked.

It feels as if people want Queen Latifah to come out for all the wrong reasons. They want her to function as the spokesperson for Black queer liberation, and truthfully, that may not be in her agenda. It is unfair to assume because of one’s identity they are ready and willing to be a representative for “the cause.”

So regardless of Queen Latifah’s sexuality, her stance on privacy speaks immensely to the inner struggles of those who have been coerced into undesired situations and those dealing with the ramifications of the trauma of media outings. In her case, revealing her sexuality is more than a personal gesture; it is a political one as well.

  • IdaliaGutierrez

    I LOVE this post!! As a queer woman of color, one of my pet peeves is seeing how media, activists and sometimes well meaning organizations set up to support LGBT peeps encourage people to come out to the point that sometimes you’re looked down upon if you don’t. While I’ve been out for the most party for the last 9 years, there are still people who don’t know, and it is MY decision to keep it that way. Some people can’t come out for a variety of reasons, whether it be they still depend on someone else and coming out to them may put them in jeopardy of losing that support, or religious/cultural reasons, or the simple fact that they aren’t comfortable yet…where this subject is SO personal, all reasons should be respected and each person should be allowed to decide when, if and how they want to come out. 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! 

  • http://twitter.com/VMcCarroll Victoria McCarroll

    Definitely agree with this post. No one should feel forced to come out, and it’s reprehensible to out someone against their will. 

  • Sarahi Almonte

    great post! there are so many days that i’d wish i’d taken a little longer to come out. other days that i wish i didn’t for the simple fact that i am TIRED of being the “spokesperson.”

    i agree that coming out is empowering and MUST be done by the person coming out, however they wish to come, whenever they wish to do so.

    i am guilty though, of wishing she’d “come out” only because i would like to see more QWOC positive role models. but i respect her wishes to never discuss her personal life.

  • Kelly Boyce

    I have always supported the”family”, I go to the parades, fund raisers, and events. I am not “gay” but I believe in letting people be themselves. I am disappointed in the community for not supporting a personal decision of a person who supports them but refuses to discuss her personal business (sexuality) to the media.

  • jacquie

    I love this post. This is about a choice. It is unfortunate from the beginning that people assume straight until proven queer or otherwise, but Queen Latifah did a good job of showing that regardless of her sexual orientation, it is hers first and foremost, and no one else gets to decide but her. Coming out is best when it brings joy 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/digolmelo Digol Melo

    uma das mulheres mais lindas que eu já vi!!!!!
    linda demais
    Amo mto

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