For Janelle Monae, being queer means uncovering more about her sexuality

Janelle Monae is always “uncovering” more about her sexuality.

The ‘Hidden Figures’ actress – who has previously been romantically linked with Tessa Thompson – identifies as queer and explained she views the label as a way to “grow” and explore who she is attracted to without boundaries.

Asked what being queer means to her, she said: “It means different. It means unafraid to try new things. I’m always learning more about who I am, and uncovering more and more about sexuality. For me, it is a journey, not a destination, as I gather more information about who I like.

” I’m a lot more open than I was in high school. I didn’t know myself then and had to meet more people, connect with spirits. I think that word gives me room to grow.”

Janelle admitted her sexuality left her feeling like an “outside” because she grew up as “a Baptist kid in a very small, Republican state”.

She added to Guardian Weekend magazine: “There was no one I could talk to about that. You do feel like an outsider. You feel, oh my goodness, I don’t know how I even have this conversation with my loved ones when all I’m hearing every Sunday is: if you are not heterosexual, you’re going to hell. And people using the Bible as a whip. I spent years unlearning that conditioning.”

The 34-year-old singer-and-actress was helped because she was raised to be confident and strong in her beliefs.

She said: “Coming from a line of strong, matriarchal women, I was always taught to stand up for myself. My mother has everything to do with my freedom and my boldness, and that’s an active choice; my mother actively chooses to assert her voice.

“When I was a young kid, I remember her having to stand up to our landlords, who were trying not to fix up our duplex when things were broken, and she was always standing up for her brothers and sisters. If there was a teacher she felt was discriminating against me, she would let her voice be known at the parent-teacher meeting.

“My mom was always a lot more free and less reserved than I am.”