We love it when celebrities share their personal growth with us, and love it even more when they use their platform to shed light on an important issue. Julianne Hough just did both: In a recent interview, Hough’s “not straight” comment took a stand against bi erasure while illuminating the dancer’s own journey of self-acceptance. Hough has had a year of self-discovery, and part of that growth meant finally saying those words out loud to her husband, and the phrasing she chose makes an important point about what does and does not define sexuality.
In an interview with Women’s Health, Hough describes the moment she shared this part of herself with her husband, Brooks Laich. “I [told him], ‘You know I’m not straight, right?'” Hough tells the magazine. “And he was like, ‘I’m sorry, what?’ I was like, ‘I’m not. But I choose to be with you,'” she says. Hough’s words are in direct contrast to a harmful phenomenon in the LGBTQ community: bi erasure, defined by GLAAD as “a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality […] is questioned or denied outright.”
This is particularly common for bisexual individuals in relationships, who will often find their sexuality automatically defined by whoever they’re currently dating. Bi individuals who bring this issue up, GLAAD notes, face being told that they “can’t really be bisexual” or that their “orientation doesn’t matter […] now that [they are] partnered.” By Hough saying “I choose to be with you,” she’s drawing a clear line: having a husband does not make her sexuality any less legitimate. Her choice of mate is just that — a choice — and not a referendum on who she has been or might be involved with throughout her life.
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& it’s just the beginning… ✨ To learn more about the conscious decision I made to be on @womenshealthmag #nakedstrength cover, head over to @kinrgy where I will share more on the transformational journey I have been on this past year and how I got to where I am now spiritually, mentally and physically. Head over to @kinrgy and join the movement! 📷: @brianbowensmith
Hough is no stranger to making her private life public, and her candor makes a huge difference in breaking down the stigma around talking about these kinds of issues. The Dancing With The Stars champ has previously opened up about dealing with endometriosis, and her mission to help dispel “shame and guilt” around infertility that followed. In opening up these issues to the public, as well as to her husband, Hough says she’s found a new freedom. “There’s no fear of voicing things that I’ve been afraid to admit or that I’ve had shame or guilt about because of what I’ve been told or how I was raised,” she tells Women’s Health. Hough is using her platform in a way we wish all celebrities would, and we’re so glad that she’s found this peace of mind along the way.