Aunjanue Ellis is reflecting on her sexuality, saying that being bisexual was never a secret, it was just that “nobody asked.”
This is not a coming out for the “King Richard” and “Lovecraft Country” actress, who told Variety that nobody asked about her personal life when she had rhinestones reading “Queer” that lined the sleeve of her outfit for the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards.
“I was like, they probably thought it said ‘Queen,’ she told the magazine in an interview published Wednesday, the first day of 2022 Pride Month. “It wasn’t that I was expecting any sort of major reaction or anything like that. One of my family members noticed, but nobody else did.”
Ellis, 53, said she remembers noticing she was queer as a child, often questioning misogynistic themes discussed in the Bible and spending time trying to “talk my body into correct behavior” as a teen, calling it a “lonely” and “violent” experience.
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“It’s violent because you literally have to tuck and place so many parts of you to be acceptable, so people won’t run from you and don’t want to be around you. It was exhausting,” she said adding that now she is “public about it.”
But it never came up in her press tour around Academy Awards season.
“My job was to talk about ‘King Richard,’ the Williams family, these wonderful young women I worked with, Will Smith’s incredible work in that movie,” Ellis said. “I wasn’t going to be like, ‘And by the way, in case you ain’t heard yet…’ Because that’s artificial.”
The Oscar-nominated actress guessed that maybe because of her Mississippi background and age there might be a “presumption” about who she is as a person.
“I don’t know what the mechanics are that goes into (people) not processing, or them not just being able to believe that in the same way: I am Black. I am queer. This is who I am,” she said.