QUEER VOICES

Janelle Monáe Comes Out As Queer In Rolling Stone Interview

The singer-actress says she identifies with aspects of both pansexuality and bisexuality.

Janelle Monáe reveals personal details about her private life in the new issue of Rolling Stone, finally addressing longstanding rumors about her sexuality. 

The singer-actress ― whose hotly-anticipated album, “Dirty Computer,” is due out Friday ― told the magazine she identifies with aspects of pansexuality and bisexuality. 

“Being a queer black woman in America ― someone who has been in relationships with both men and women ― I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker,” Monáe said in the interview, published Thursday. She said she initially identified as bisexual, but added: “Later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’”

She continued: “I’m open to learning more about who I am.”

Monáe, who grew up in a Baptist family in Kansas, had been known to dodge interview questions about her sexuality. But the star told Rolling Stone that, in fact, she’s always been living her truth ― through her music, that is. 

“If you listen to my albums, it’s there,” she said. Two of her songs, 2010’s “Mushrooms & Roses” and 2013’s “Q.U.E.E.N.,” reference a character named Mary as an object of affection. In fact, the original title of “Q.U.E.E.N.” was “Q.U.E.E.R.,” and the word can still be heard on the track’s background harmonies. 

Monáe’s sexuality has been the source of fan and media speculation for some time. In February, she winked at the rumors about the nature of her relationship with actress Tessa Thompson in her “Make Me Feel” video. (Thompson also appeared in the video for “PYNK,” which dropped earlier this month.) 

Though Monáe doesn’t talk to Rolling Stone about her relationship with Thompson, she said she’d love it if “Dirty Computer” inspired young listeners who may be struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, too. 

“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she said. “This album is for you. Be proud.”

CORRECTION: The original version of this article misidentified the release dates of “Mushrooms & Roses” and “Q.U.E.E.N.”  

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