5 Times Celebrities Have Said 'I'm Gay... Just Kidding!'
When it comes to figuring out your sexuality and gender, there’s nothing but gray area and fluidity. Still, there are some cisgender heterosexual people who try to find new ways to be included in the LGBTQ+ community that end up going past gray and into a completely unidentifiable – and very distinctly not-gay – color.
While it’s common to go on a journey that includes several different identities while figuring out the right one, some celebrities have had the idea to publicly “come out” but without actually having or being interested in gay sex or relationships.
There are plenty of queer people who don’t have sex, or who don’t have sex with members of the same sex. Asexuals, bisexuals in monogamous relationships with different-sex partners and gay incels all exist. Unfortunately, that is not what these celebs were talking about.
Sometimes, a celebrity makes one of these “gay but not gay” claims in an effort to be a good ally. Other times, though, it’s because they’re simply full of themselves and want to seem more interesting. But every time, it leaves us scratching our heads.
Here are five times celebrities came out, only to clarify that they didn’t really mean they’re “gay” gay.
1. Andrew Garfield
We love Andrew Garfield, but perhaps he got a little too carried away with being a good ally when he was preparing for his role as a gay man living with AIDS in a production of Angels in America. In one interview, he explained how far he was going to get into the character.
“Every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru,” the actor said. “I mean every single series of RuPaul's Drag Race. I mean every series. This is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act — that's all.”
“As far as I know, I am not a gay man,” he also said. “Maybe I'll have an awakening later in my life, which I'm sure will be wonderful and I'll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I'm secluded to my area, which is wonderful, as well.”
“Well, I like to think I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I’m straight.”
“Whom you have sex with” is definitely what most people mean when they talk about sexuality, but for Franco, it’s more about being cool. He later clarified that he identifies as a “gay c*ck tease,” as he never actually has or will have gay sex.
3. Matty Healy
The straight frontman of The 1975 and former Taylor Swift arm candy has been in hot water lately with the Malaysian LGBTQ+ community after he kissed a fellow straight male bandmate onstage at a concert in the country. The community there is fearing harsh clampdowns on anti-LGBTQ+ laws and called the movie “ignorant” and “a publicity stunt.”
But this is far from the first time he’s stepped in these territories. Apart from kissing men at several concerts, in a 2018 interview, he said that he thought he was gay growing up because many people around him were. He said he was attracted to men “but not in a carnal, sexual way. The other sex is still attractive, it’s just sex is weird, isn’t it? Do you know what I mean? It’s, like, Do I want blowjobs with a guy? No. Do I want to kiss a guy? Yeah, kind of.”
Again, in 2019, Healy touched on the subject. “I see things as objectively beautiful, so men can be objectively beautiful. Sometimes, I see men and I’m like, ‘Fuck me, he’s peng!’” he told Attitude. “Then sexuality gets changed for me because I would, and have, kissed beautiful men, but I don’t want to fuck them. It stops for me when it comes to [sex].”
Another time that straight allyship went way too far was when singer Pink was accepting the Human Rights Campaign’s 2010 Ally for Equality Award. As she stood at the mic in front of a huge crowd and cameras, she spoke:
“Hi, I’m Alecia, I’m a Virgo, I’m 31, I’m gay,” she said, accepting a seven-second applause break. “Actually I’m not. But that doesn’t actually matter. My point is I would like in the world the same boring response I get from ‘Hi I’m a Virgo,’ I would like ‘Hi I’m gay,’ to elicit the same type of response.”
Unfortunately, a lot of fans, especially ones watching live – like the fan who shouted a supportive “we love you!” – felt a little betrayed by the moment.
Re-watch the moment for yourself...
Singer P!nk accepts the Ally for Equality Award at the 14th Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on Oct. 11, 2010 in Washington, DC.
5. Tilda Swinton
In 2021, acclaimed actress Tilda Swinton told Jeremy O. Harris in an interview with Vogue that she has always considered herself queer, at least when it comes to “sensibility.”
“I’m very clear that queer is actually, for me anyway, to do with sensibility.” she said in the interview. “I always felt I was queer — I was just looking for my queer circus, and I found it. And having found it, it's my world. Now I have a family with Wes Anderson, I have a family with Bong Joon-ho, I have a family with Jim Jarmusch, I have a family with Luca Guadagnino, with Lynne Ramsay, with Joanna Hogg.”