Op/Ed: We Don’t Get to Lecture Demi Lovato (or Anyone for That Matter) on Being Out
Demi Lovato’s sexuality was recently a topic of conversation during her interview with queer journalist Chris Azzopardi for Pride Source. He asked the pop star — whose new album Tell Me You Love Me will see release Friday, Sept. 29 — to divulge more about her sexual orientation, saying, “I want to give you the opportunity to speak on it as directly as you’d like.” But Lovato opted not to, responding, “I think I’m going to pass.”
The conversation quickly turned to her most recent hit pop single, “Cool for the Summer,” the lyrics of which strongly suggest same-sex fun. Still, when pressed, Demi Lovato’s sexuality wasn’t a valid topic of conversation:
I just feel like everyone’s always looking for a headline and they always want their magazine or TV show or whatever to be the one to break what my sexuality is. I feel like it’s irrelevant to what my music is all about.
I stand up for the things that I believe in and the things that I’m passionate about, but I like to keep my personal life as private as possible when it comes to dating and sexuality and all that stuff just because it has nothing to do with my music.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where everyone is trying to get that soundbite, and I am purposefully not giving the soundbite. Watch my documentary.
To an extent, Lovato is right. Journalists like us are dying to get that soundbite, especially to make our latest interview worthy of getting picked up by other outlets. In this case, even Lovato’s refusal to open up was good enough to warrant more articles, as Huffpost Queer Voices editor Noah Michelson responded to the pop star spat with his own op-ed, titled “Demi Lovato’s Reason For Refusing To Talk About Her Sexuality Is Total Bulls**t.”
When Michelson shared his article on Facebook, he wrote, “I’ve been annoyed all week after reading Demi Lovato’s interview with Chris Azzopardi and I finally had time to explain exactly why.”
The Queer Voices editor continued, via Facebook, “I’m a big fan of Lovato, but I think she needs to reconsider why she won’t talk about it — especially when she’s so open about other issues like mental health, substance abuse and intimate relationships — and what that ultimately means about how she sees herself, the queer community and queerness in general.”
Why tell a pop star when she can and can’t come out?
To be clear, Lovato doesn’t say she isn’t going to talk about it ever, but instead claims she’s just not going to talk about it now with that journalist for an outlet called Q Syndicate.
I think that’s fair. Beyoncé didn’t talk about her relationship trouble with Jay-Z. She saved that for Lemonade. Taylor Swift doesn’t really give interviews … ever. She saves talk of her personal issues and relationship woes for her music. Why can’t Lovato do the same?
But Michelson disagrees, not wanting to wait around for the documentary to uncover the truth of Demi Lovato’s sexuality.
He concludes his article, “But the longer she refuses to talk about this one specific aspect of who she is ― while continually telling the queer community that we should be proud of who we are and simultaneously courting us to buy her albums and concert tickets ― the less I’m inclined to want her support … or to support her.”
Demi Lovato’s sexuality should be given time to reveal itself
Doesn’t everyone in the LGBT community need our support, whether out or not? Why are closeted people all of a sudden the enemy?
As people who are proud of their sexuality and wear it on our sleeves, it’s not our duty to lecture others on their coming-out process or to interrogate them so an interview can get a few more clicks.
Yes, Demi Lovato is a rich celebrity who doesn’t really need anyone’s pity. But let’s tread carefully when it comes to setting a troublesome standard of outing people. It seems both presumptuous and overreaching to tell other people what they can and can’t do with their own sexuality — no matter how famous they may or may not be.
Instead, as leaders in the queer community who unabashedly live our lives out loud, we have to help those who struggle, being supportive when they ultimately want to open up about it — on their own terms.