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Jameela Jamil comes out as 'queer' amid TV casting backlash
6 February 2020, 16:26
Jameela Jamil has come out as queer after receiving criticism for her role in a new LGBT show.
The 33-year-old actress and presenter issued the statement on Twitter after it was revealed that she would be a judge on HBO's new voguing contest Legendary.
When the announcement was made, the star tweeted: "I'm *so* excited to be a tiny part of bringing ballroom further into the mainstream where it belongs. I'm here to celebrate some of the coolest, most talented people on the planet who deserve centre stage."
However, her appointment was met with heavy criticism on social media, with many users saying she has "no connection to the culture" and criticising her for coming out as queer whilst being in a heterosexual relationship with singer James Blake.
It was also pointed out that the dance style of "voguing" was founded by black and Latino LGBT people and many people argued that the role should have been given to someone with connections to the ballroom scene.
Voguing is a dance style that originated in the 1980s ballroom scene in New York in the late 1980s. It was made popular in the mainstream by the renowned documentary "Paris is Burning" and Madonna's hit song "Vogue".
The Good Place star then issued a statement on Twitter explaining that she identifies as "queer" and has not spoken out previously because "it's not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted".
She continued: "It's also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you're already a brown female in your thirties".
"This is absolutely not how I wanted to come out", she added, finishing with the statement: "You can keep your thoughts."
In response to the criticism against her, Jamil also commented: "I'm a long time fan of ballroom and just wanted to help this show get made to celebrate this beautiful community."
"I know that my being queer doesn't qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show... and its beautiful contestants and hosts."
The announcement was also criticised by Ru Paul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage, who said: "There are literally so many others who actually KNOW about ball who should be on".
Queer is an umbrella term that can include anyone within the LGBTQ+ spectrum who does not identify as heterosexual or cisgender.
Other judges on Legendary include rapper Megan Thee Stallion, stylist Law Roach and dancer Leiomy Maldonado.
Pose actor Dashaun Wesley will also MC alongside DJ Mike Q.