The 21-year-old singer also recently used the “Gay & Tired” Instagram filter
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY WIRESTOCK/DREAMSTIME
Billie Eilish has been a queer icon for much of her career. There’s always been a lot of speculation surrounding the star’s sexuality, and she’s previously been accused of queerbaiting for her Lost Cause music video.
In recent months, speculation has intensified, with many fans speculating that the 21-year-old singer was “soft launching” her coming out back in August. This was sparked by her doing a Q&A on her Instagram stories. When asked who her celebrity crush was, Billie credited Stranger Things’ Maya Hawke and when a second fan asked “Fruity?” she responded with an image of a fruit salad.
And then on Friday (10 November) Billie posted a picture of herself to her Instagram stories with the “Gay & Tired” filter on her face. Many took to social media to celebrate, stating “Billie Eilish gay confirmed”. While others stated that she may not be queer. One user wrote: “Billie Eilish using a filter calling herself gay and people are still saying she could be straight. Be so serious rn.”
While fans have believed Billie’s recent social media usage has been her way of hinting toward her sexuality, in a recent interview with Variety, the star spoke more openly about her desires. “I’ve never really felt like I could relate to girls very well,” Eilish told the publication. “I love them so much. I love them as people. I’m attracted to them as people. I’m attracted to them for real.”
“I have deep connections with women in my life, the friends in my life, the family in my life,” she continued. “I’m physically attracted to them. But I’m also intimidated by them and their beauty and their presence.”
It’s clear from the interview that while Billie has confirmed her attraction to women, she’s done it in a way that doesn’t adhere to our traditional ideas of a “coming out” story. She has offered no labels. She hasn’t added lots of contextual information. She could be exploring her sexuality. She could not be. We are not entitled to this information. And no one, including celebrities, owes us a coming out.
I will say that we are seeing attitudes around sexuality changing. Not only are we seeing more people coming out as LGBTQIA, but we are also seeing more people having a disinterest in labels. We appear to be becoming more fluid as a society. And, as I near 28, I am (gay &) tired of how many times I have come out. Not only do I have to come out to new people all the time, but I also feel a pressure to come out (again) to my loved ones whenever my identity evolves in any way. When I was younger, my labels used to excite me, they used to be a way for me to find community, to feel like I was learning more about myself. But for me, now, they often feel like a way I am restricting myself to a label in order to be understood by others. And the older I get, the less I care about being understood.
I do hope that we will see the end to individuals being accused of queerbaiting, as I have said before, this is the incorrect use of the term. It was designed to critique writing choices on TV and is now frequently wrongly used to describe how individuals live their lives. Accusations can force people into coming out when they don’t want to.
I hope we continue to stop putting pressure on people to live out their queerness within a set of expectations. Let people live and love in whatever way is authentic to their own truth.
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