Aunjanue Ellis is sharing her truth.
During a recent interview with Variety, for the magazine’s Pride issue, the King Richard actress revealed that she identifies as bisexual.
“I knew [my sexuality], but there was no template for it; there was no example of it; there was no place for it, and certainly no forgiveness for it,” she recalled of growing up queer as a teenager.
“The solitude of that is so lonely, it’s violent. It’s violent because you literally have to tuck and place so many parts of you to be acceptable, so people won’t run from you and don’t want to be around you. It was exhausting. That’s what childhood was like. That’s what adolescence was like.”
The Mississippi-bred actress says it wasn’t until she was in her 30s that she realized she’s bisexual. Currently, she’s in an 11-year relationship with a man she met in church.
She said her sexuality has never been a secret, and friends and family and even work colleagues have known for decades.
Back in March, she rocked a red Dolce & Gabbana suit jacket with the word “Queer” spelled out in rhinestones on the left arm. To her surprise, no one on the press line outside the Beverly Wilshire hotel asked her about it.
“I was thinking, ‘Why didn’t more people pay attention to that?’ And I was like, they probably thought it said ‘Queen,’” “It wasn’t that I was expecting any sort of major reaction or anything like that. One of my family members noticed, but nobody else did.”
Now more than ever she says she’s dedicated to expanding the range of queer representation through her work.
“There aren’t a lot of novels about Black queer women,” she observes. “There are characters, but the full experience of a Black woman being gay or bisexual, it doesn’t exist, so we’ve got to write it into existence.”