Last week, Jameela Jamil came out as queer after being criticised for her role as a judge on a new TV show about voguing. The following day, Phillip Schofield came out as gay, and the difference in public reaction to the to coming outs was noticeable and problematic. Now, Jameela has spoken out for the first time since coming out.
She posted on Instagram with a long caption referencing her coming out, admitting her timing was bad, and referring to the whole thing as a "perfect clusterfck".
"Well. Last week was a perfect clusterfuck. It was completely overwhelming," she began the post. She continued, "The sequence of events was insane, a misunderstanding was left uncorrected for too long, and misinformation spread too far, too fast, 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 traumatized, it always feels like it might just fucking burst out of you at any given moment, even the most inappropriate and unfortunate ones."
Jameela joked that because she chose "the *most* inappropriate and unfortunate time, maybe ever," for her coming out, anyone else coming out doesn't need to feel embarrassed. "I peaked for all of us," she added.
She said despite her bad timing, it is "better out than in". She also thanked the supportve messages she's received.
"Thank you for the thousands of messages of kindness and deeply personal letters from strangers and people I know, coming out to me privately. I don’t take it lightly and am happy for you that you felt ready to tell even one person."
Jameela also gave advice for anyone else thinking of coming out. "Do it whenever you feel the time is right, as long as you think you’ll be safe. Don’t feel bad for hiding it for as long as you need, and move at your own pace. But feel no shame about getting it off your chest and know you aren’t alone. There is a huge community of people who understand you, respect you and stand with you."
Jameela's coming out last week came after being named as a judge for the US voguing competition show Legendary. She received backlash from people questioning her role on the show as they hadn't thought that she was a member of the LGBTQ+ community, which is where voguing was created. There were also valid criticisms of her role on the show as a south Asian woman, when the voguing and ballroom scene was led by black LGNTQ+ people.
Following the criticism, Jameela came out in a notes post on Twitter, writing, "Twitter is brutal. This is why I never officially came out as queer. I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it's not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter.
"But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid."
She continued, explaining her hesitations around coming out, saying, "I didn't come from a family with *anyone* openly out. It's also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you're a brown female in your thirties. This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out."
Jameela added that she was taking a break from Twitter after receiving hate comments in response to the show.
When someone comes out as queer, there's only one thing to do: share photos of them sitting incorrectly in chairs. We love you, Jameela Jamil! 💖 pic.twitter.com/mn0V6cXYG9— Jamie Jirak (@JamieCinematics) February 6, 2020
Explaining her role in the voguing competition, which originated in New York's underground ballroom scene, Jameela said, "I know that being queer doesn't qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show."
She added, "Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance."
Jameela also said that being a newcomer to ballroom and voguing herself, she could provide, "a window in for people who are just discovering it now," adding that she is "a long time ally of the LGBTQ community."
Jameela's tweets were met with support from fans saying they wanted to welcome her to the LGBTQ+ community.
i love you so much mama and im so sorry that you have to come out like this but i just want you to know that im proud of you and i will never stop supporting you— 𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐤𝐚 (@ruddslilly) February 6, 2020
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