JoJo Siwa is opening up about coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community.
The online superstar, 17, who came out in January, discussed her sexuality in a People interview published Wednesday. Siwa said she usually refers to herself as “gay because it just kind of covers it or queer because I think the keyword is cool,” but added that she would also identify as pansexual.
“I like queer,” Siwa said. “Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that’s how I have always been my whole life... my human is my human.”
A pansexual is a person who is attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender, according to GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis. That means a person who identifies as pansexual may be attracted to a transgender person, someone who goes by by the gender neutral terms of “ze” or “zir,” or someone who identifies as straight or gay.
The YouTube star also talked about her relationship with girlfriend, Kylie Prew, whom she went public with on social media in February.
“I told her my whole spiel that I tell everyone when they ask me my life story,” Siwa recalled. “She goes, ‘I could have Googled that. I want to know your life story. You just told me about your career. I want to know about you.’ And I was like, No one’s ever asked me that before.”
Though Siwa has been open about her identity, she admitted that she “never wanted (my coming out) to be a big deal,” especially to her particularly young fan base.
“I’ve known since I was little,” she said, adding that she had “a lot that could have gone away because of my love life.” Siwa admitted that she was met with criticism and negativity by some of her followers when she initially came out as a member of the LGBTQ community.
“I was thinking that all the comments were going to be nice and supportive, and they weren’t,” she says. “A lot of them were, ‘I’m never buying your merch again. My daughter’s never watching you again.’ I couldn’t sleep for three days.”
However, she has a message for her followers who may not approve of her sexuality: ”I don’t want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren’t going to support not only me, but the LGBTQ community.”
Despite the occasional hate, Siwa said ”this is the first time that I’ve felt so personally happy.”
“Performing has always made me super happy,” she adds. “But for the first time, personally, I am like, whoa, happiness. I am so proud to be me.”
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