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Kehlani Tweeted That She’s Queer & Fans Gave Her a Free Lesson on Sexuality & Mindfulness

When singer and songwriter Kehlani isn’t giving us another bop to add to our solo shower karaoke playlist, she is crafting revolutionary songs, like “Honey,” that celebrate adorable same-sex relationships and also break the stereotype that every woman needs to act or look feminine. Shortly after fans started to speculate that Demi Lovato and Kehlani might be dating after their famous on-stage kiss during Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me Tour, Kehlani told the Twitterverse that she’s a reigning queer queen—and her fans gave her an extremely informative and supportive lesson about sexuality.

According to The Fader, on Sunday Kehlani tweeted out to her fans that she’s queer. In a now-deleted tweet, Teen Vogue reports that Kehlani said, “cuz i keep geddin asked.. i’m queer. not bi, not straight. i’m attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non binary people, intersex people, trans people. lil poly pansexual papi hello good morning. does that answer your questions?”

However, some of her fans thought that Kehlani’s explanation of her sexuality was a bit problematic. Thankfully, they were quick to give her some constructive criticism so that the songstress can openly talk about her sexuality without inadvertently invalidating other members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

One fan replied to Kehlani’s coming out tweet, saying, “also the addition of attraction to trans people suggests that they’re in a separate category than their gender (same problem w intersex ppl) and that…. leaves a bad taste even tho i know that was not your point i think the wording in this comes off poorly.” After all, trans women are women and trans men are men, period.

Earlier in the responses, the same fan also noted that, “you can identify however you want ofc but when you say things like ‘not bi’ then describe exactly the attraction a bi person feels, it can make people who don’t really kno what bi means think that non-binary and intersex people aren’t included in that attraction.”

Nevertheless, this fan didn’t attack Kehlani for her decision to come out or for her sexual identity. Gatekeeping within the LGBTQIA+ community is still a prevalent issue, which especially impacts people who sexually identify as bisexual or who identify somewhere on the non-sexual spectrum (i.e. the ace spectrum). After all, bisexual people are often chastised for labeling themselves as queer (despite the fact that we most definitely are queer enough to call ourselves queer).

Though some celebs (and regular people) might be offended by these educational responses, Kehlani actively listened to her fans, tweeting back, “ahhhh that makes HELLA SENSE!!!! i totally get it. wasn’t my intention at all but it’s so important! thank you for this!” We’ve all said something with the best intentions in mind, and it’s refreshing to have someone correct us so our well-meaning intentions don’t turn ugly. (Does this mean that Kehlani is ~just like us~ mere mortals?)

After explaining her intentions for deleting her original tweet, Kehlani said that we should help celebrities accountable, regardless of how long we’ve been stanning them. “Always hold [celebrities] accountable. never stop. as crazy as twitter is, this is a part I believe is necessary. hold. each other. accountable… and teach,” Kehlani tweeted.

After being commended for the way she handled this criticism, Kehlani added, “I understand how hard it is to feel hurt and really embarrassed when you’re attacked/ harshly corrected for something you thought was right, that you said with good intention. still gotta learn tho!!! still gotta own up, change it, and grow.” TBH, if you aren’t constantly growing and learning then, what are you doing?

Nevertheless, Kehlani’s message makes complete sense. Logically, you can’t take criticism personally, especially when your original statement, tweet or remark can affect or offend someone else.

In between amending her original tweet and responding to fans, the singer also noted that, “so many blogs reported it as my coming out.” While Kehlani’s since-deleted tweet might seem like a “coming out” tweet, Kehlani has talked about her sexuality for some time now. When she isn’t using music to feature a rom-com-worthy love story between two women, she has been known to openly discussed her sexuality with fans and several publications. TBH, Kehlani’s most recent tweet about her sexuality isn’t really a “coming out” tweet. Instead, this might be a way for Kehlani to redefine her relationship with her own sexuality. Since people often ask members of the LGBTQIA+ community rather invasive questions about their sexuality, Kehlani’s mention of “the questions” in her original tweet could reference these very intrusive questions. 

Although past headlines have alleged that Kehlani “came out” as a lesbian, she discussed her bisexuality with Complex back in 2015. Likewise, it’s no surprise that Kehlani would be so eager to learn how to respectfully tackle topics about sexuality and the LGBTQIA+ community, seeing as she has struggled with her mental health in the past. While Kehlani’s mental health was never a direct result of her sexuality, she did make a suicide attempt in 2016 because of comments and accusations about her.

Kehlani knows how powerful words can be (regardless of the intentions), which might be why she was so eager to learn from her fans. Either way, we’re so glad to see how respectful Kehlani continues to be because she’s the queer role model we need (but totally don’t deserve).

Chelsea is the Health Editor and How She Got There Editor for Her Campus. In addition to editing articles about mental health, women's health and physical health, Chelsea contributes to Her Campus as a Feature Writer, Beauty Writer, Entertainment Writer and News Writer. Some of her unofficial, albeit self-imposed, responsibilities include arguing about the Oxford comma, fangirling about other writers' articles, and pitching Her Campus's editors shamelessly nerdy content (at ambiguously late/early hours, nonetheless). When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she is probably drawing insects, painting with wine or sobbing through "Crimson Peak." Please email any hate, praise, tips, or inquiries to [email protected]
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