The internet has been abuzz with the news that Rosario Dawson came out as bisexual all day — but did she, really? After reading the news, I was expecting to see a thought-out statement, in which Dawson a) used the word “bisexual” and b) said what that title means to her. I’m not saying that coming out always has to be a grand gesture. It should be as formal or as casual as the person in question wants. In fact, it should be literally whatever the person in question wants. And in this case, it didn’t really seem like Dawson wanted to “come out” at all.
In a Bustle interview, Dawson was asked to address a 2018 Instagram post for pride month, in which she’d referenced her “fellow lgbtq+ homies” and made other comments that led her fans to believe she was hinting at her own sexuality. While rumors swarmed that Dawson had “come out” with this post at the time, she insisted that was never her intention.
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🙏🏽👏🏽✊🏽💥🔥💋🤗♥️💙🧡💚💛💜❤️ I will not be ashamed. this is just who I am. and who I was meant to be. No mistakes. so right here I stand. I’m out on my own two feet. no you will not tear me down. no my heart will not be bound. sing it loud. sing it loud. I’m proud. I’m proud. #Repost @oranicuhh ・・・ happy pride month! sending love to my fellow lgbtq+ homies. keep being strong in the face of adversity. loud & proud. 🌈🤟🏾 here’s a lil throwbyke to last year. ✨
“People kept saying that I [came out]… I didn’t do that,” she told Bustle. “I mean, it’s not inaccurate, but I never did come out come out. I mean, I guess I am now…I’ve never had a relationship in that space, so it’s never felt like an authentic calling to me.”
And…that’s it. That’s all Dawson said on the subject. News coverage of this interview hasn’t been misleading, exactly, about the meaning of her words: to translate “I guess I am [coming out] now” as Dawson coming out isn’t an unfair stretch. But everything about the actress’s words suggests this wasn’t something she planned to discuss, or really wanted to comment on in a definitive way at the time.
Dawson’s final comment on the issue is particularly telling: since she’s never had a relationship “in that space,” which we’re assuming to mean a same-sex relationship, claiming an LGBTQ+ title has never felt “authentic” to her. If claiming a title has never felt authentic to Dawson, then that explains why she’s never publicly claimed one — so why are we so eager to put the label of “bisexual” on her now?
There are many reasons why a member of the LGBTQ+ community might want to express their support and indicate that they don’t quite identify as heterosexual or cisgender without coming out completely. Many still fear the personal and professional consequences of coming out, while others are simply still searching for the language and expression of their sexuality that feels right to them.
We don’t know Dawson’s reasons for hesitating to come out in stronger terms than “I guess I am now.” And honestly, we shouldn’t need to. The actress has been a powerful ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and she should have been able to address the issue of her own sexuality if and when she felt she had something to say.
Dawson being bisexual or queer should only be a notable aspect of her identity if she decides to make it one, and offers up the label herself as one with which she identifies. She hasn’t done that, and we need to stop trying to do it for her.
Click here for a list of openly bisexual, sexually fluid, pansexual, or queer celebrities.