Kendall Jenner made headlines this week when she came out.
No, not out of the closet. She came out as straight.
Jenner covers the latest issue of Vogue and interviewer Jonathan Van Meter made it a point to find out exactly how heterosexual Jenner is.
Jenner was asked why “the internet” seems to think she’s gay, and she said in response, “I think it’s because I’m not like all my other sisters, who are like, ‘Here’s me and my boyfriend!’ So it was a thing for a minute because no one ever saw me with a guy. I would always go that extra mile to be low-key with guys, sneaking around all the time. You don’t want to, like, look crazy.”
She continued: “I don’t think I have a bisexual or gay bone in my body, but I don’t know! Who knows?! I’m all down for experience—not against it whatsoever—but I’ve never been there before. I know I have kind of a…male energy? But I don’t want to say that wrong, because I’m not transgender or anything. But I have a tough energy. I move differently. But to answer your question: I’m not gay. I have literally nothing to hide. I would never hide something like that.”
It’s amusing, of course, that Jenner had to publicly “come out” as straight. The default sexuality in our world is still hetero, and even if a celebrity might have some pockets of the internet question their sexuality, it doesn’t affect their careers the way it does, say, when a celebrity actually comes out of the closet.
Oddly enough, the focus on Jenner’s sexuality is because, unlike other members of her family, she is very mum on her dating life and exploits. But Jenner is no stranger to the internet and social media—she must’ve known that some people wondered if she was queer because she is only photographed hanging out with women. She articulates it herself perfectly, but rather than a succinct tweet or, you know, just living her life, it’s easier to use this “coming-out-as-straight” moment to grab headlines.
After all, everyone knew her sister Kylie was pregnant for months, but it wasn’t until the carefully-orchestrated announcement that Kylie could fully reap the benefits. If we’re being honest, Jenner’s revelation in Vogue is probably the least interesting thing about her considering that, according to the magazine, she was also embroiled in her fake-woke Pepsi controversy last year and is secretly dating NBA star Blake Griffin.
It’s easy to view Jenner’s interview in a cynical light. Are celebrities queer-baiting in order to get attention only to then dismiss their gay fans by shrewdly declaring their sexuality? Jenner’s “coming out” is reminiscent of actor Jack Falahee’s, who paved the way for Love Simon when he “dismantled the closet” by coming out as straight.
Falahee, who plays the gay Connor Walsh on How to Get Away with Murder, had a lot of gay fans who thought he might be gay. He issued a public statement on the matter, saying, “While I’m not gay, on HTGAWM I play a character who’s in an interracial relationship with an HIV-positive man. However, in the past I’ve declined to discuss my own sexuality in an attempt to try and dismantle the closet. Opponents to my ambiguous answers to questions surrounding my sexuality argued the importance of visibility. Ultimately, I think that my stance has been unhelpful in the fight for equality. I feel that I’ve sacrificed my ability to support the community for a more theoretical discussion about sexuality. Now more than ever, I want to offer my support to the community as an ally.”
It was easy to mock Falahee, but perhaps he had a point about attempting to dismantle the closet. Openly addressing his sexuality put an end to gay rumors and it also put an end to the idea that he was “hiding” something secretive. His coming out as straight was at least done with more concern than the giddy, questioning response of Jenner. In fact, Jenner still manages to play it coy while declaring her heterosexuality: “Who knows?! I’m all down for experience—not against it whatsoever—but I’ve never been there before,” sounds like a woman who wants to have it both ways, teasing some Wild Things pool romps while also letting you know that she’s not going to an Ani DiFranco concert anytime soon.
It makes you wonder, why even bother? And why, if Vogue was so keen on digging into her sexuality, they didn’t further press her about her “lol, IDK maybe” nonsense. It’s worth it to note that the interview doesn’t mention Caitlyn Jenner once. Perhaps there’s no room for real discussions of sexuality and how her response might seem especially glib as the daughter of someone who has actually grappled with their identity and sexuality in public.
For Kendall, it’s better to keep it as a mysterious cliffhanger—like an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.