Actress Jameela Jamil, singers Lizzo and Janelle Monae and Apple CEO Tim Cook have made Out magazine’s 2020 Out100 list.
Pride Media announced that its annual list honouring the 100 most influential LGBTQ+ people of the year also includes and US news anchor Rachel Maddow, comedian Wanda Sykes, fashion icon Andre Leon Talley, the creators of Queer Eye, and actors Wilson Cruz, Keke Palmer, Jeremy Pope and Joe Mantello.
Early in 2020 Jameela Jamil announced she was “queer” after receiving criticism for being cast in a new LGBT-interest show. US broadcaster HBO announced that the actress and model would be a judge on its new unscripted voguing contest Legendary.
The news prompted an online backlash from people who said The Good Place star was not representative of the black LGBT community.
Opening with “Twitter is brutal”, she explained that she identified “as queer” and had previously struggled to discuss the topic because “it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted”.
She mentioned that nobody in her family was “openly out” and that “it’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties”.
The term queer is both embraced and frowned upon. Having been seen as derogatory, it is being reclaimed by some non-heterosexual people who say they don’t identify with more traditional categories of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Jamil went on: “This is absolutely not how I wanted to come out,” adding that she was logging off Twitter for the time being “because I don’t want to read mean comments dismissing this”.
She told critics: “You can keep your thoughts.”
She went on to clarify why she believed she was an appropriate fit for the programme.
“I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show… and its beautiful contestants and hosts.”