When Lily Reinhart came out during Pride Month, she was one of almost 20 celebrities to do so — though she was one of the first. The Riverdale star made the announcement as she headed to a rally being held by the WeHo LGBTQ+ community in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Although I've never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman," she wrote underneath a flier encouraging followers to come out.
The post brought a mixed reception. While there was a whole lot of praise, there were also some who criticized the event. It came at a time when the focus of many was on Black communities, and some felt that Reinhart was centering herself (and possibly looking for some news coverage) and using the protest to do so. And those things were fears she had prior to publicly disclosing her sexuality as well.
“I was afraid of coming out," she said in the latest episode on the LGBTQ&A podcast released today. "I didn't want people to tell me that I was lying to get attention or something. And so I just kept my mouth shut. Also, I've told people in the past and they've told me, 'Oh, it's a phase.' And I'm like, 'Okay, great, thanks.' So that's discouraging, obviously.” But, eventually the actress did decide to take the step, though she didn't feel like she was breaking any news. In fact, she found the attention "surprising." But there was another reason that the event was timed when it was: she wanted to wait until she was single.
“I think that's why I didn't come out as bisexual until I was not in a relationship anymore," she said. "Because it's easy for people to question, 'Oh, but you're with a man that's straight.' It's like, well, Anna Paquin is married to a man, but she is bisexual." It is worth it to note that just because a queer person is in an opposite-sex relationship, it doesn't invalidate their sexuality — much like if they are in a same-sex relationship and identify on the bisexual spectrum, it doesn't make them any less bisexual. It seems that these sorts of often held notions and forms of erasure weighed heavily on Reinhart who will celebrate her first Bisexual Visibility Day publicly tomorrow.
"I didn't want to put my ex in a position, it seems like it would have been a little strange to come out when I was in a hetero relationship," she continued. She broke up with her most recent ex Cole Sprouse in January. "It just seemed, I don't know, maybe a little bit like I was looking for something else while I was in the relationship. So, I didn't really think about coming out until after I was not in a relationship anymore. It just felt more organic that way.”
But still, the news has changed things.
“I did have a couple of ladies sliding into my DMs which I thought was funny, but also flattering," she admitted. "Yeah. It was interesting to see the difference in my DMs after I came out, which was a nice little surprise...And also just like, I hate to say it, more quality human beings."
You can listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts.