Jameela Jamil is an experienced TV host, a beloved The Good Place star, and known for waging war against the weight loss industry.
But after her latest casting announcement prompted intense backlash, Jameela was pressured to come out as queer. That’s so unfair to her.
We’re going to start at the beginning because social media discourse is often a confusing nightmare.
HBO Max is one of the legion of new streaming services that are coming out, and they are making a new show, Legendary.
Legendary is not scripted, but will be a ballroom voguing competition show. Jameela has been cast as one of the show’s hosts and judges.
She (and fellow host, Megan Thee Stallion) faced intense criticism from those who say that ballroom culture can only be judged by LGBTQ+ judges.
"Twitter is brutal," Jameela Jamil begins her Instagram post. "This is why I never officially came out as queer."
The queer label is a common umbrella term for the LGBTQ+ community as it is a reclaimed slur that actually began with use among gays before WWI.
Many also use is as a personal label, because sexuality and gender are complicated and sometimes it’s hard to find a label that sounds exactly right.
Essentially, Jameela is saying that she’s part of the community without naming a specific letter of the LGBT+ acronym, so to speak. Good for her.
Of course, it is sad that she is effectively forced to Come Out because of a casting controversy.
"I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago," Jameela writes.
She explains: "It’s not easy within the South Asian community to be accepted."
Jameela ads: "And I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter."
"But I kept it low," Jameela explains, "because I was afraid of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping."
She was afraid of backlash "over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear, and turmoil when I was a kid."
Jameela notes: "I didn’t come from a family with anyone openly out."
"It’s also scary as an actor to admit your sexuality," she admits, "especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties."
"This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out," Jameela laments.
"I’m jumping off this hell app for a while," she wisely announces, "because I don’t want to read mean comments dismissing this."
Jameela tells queerphobes and haters: "You can keep your thoughts."
Before anyone can accuse her of trying to change the subject, she acknowledges: "I know my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom."
"But," she notes, "I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show."
The The Good Place actress is widely beloved and also one of the most beautiful people on the planet.
She explains that this is sometimes what it takes "so we can elevate marginalized stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance."
Jameela also notes that she’s "not the main host. I’m just a lead judge due to my 11 years of hosting experience."
As Jameela predicted, her tweet was attacked. Some were saying that she still didn’t belong in ballroom, even after her explanation.
Others, however, went after her use of the queer label. It’s a popular identity label and umbrella term, but there are certain factions who don’t like it.
By "certain factions," we mean TERFs (transphobes masquerading as feminists) and people with TERF-adjacent worldviews within the community.
To them, words like "queer" are too inclusive of the trans community, so they use manufactured buzzwords like "het-partnered" to attack Jameela.
Jameela has had a boyfriend for the past five years. He may very well be straight (it would be rude to ask, folks).
But heterosexuality is not, in fact, a sexually transmitted disease. Bi, pan, and other folks with other labels date straight people all of the time.
We didn’t grow up in ballroom culture. We know only enough to say that Jameela’s statement makes sense — she’ll bring an audience and she’s a good host.
But we do know that we cannot live in a society that demands that closeted actors "come out" before they’re ready just so that they can take certain roles.