Michelle Visage has long been considered an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, many times working within it. Though she is a one-time pop star, she’s really come to prominence working as RuPaul’s best friend and fellow permanent judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. And even prior to that, she integrated herself as a part of New York City nightlife, joining the ballroom house of Magnifique. Some even think that she was one of Madonna’s inspiration for the “Vogue” era. Now, Visage has revealed that though she fits some people’s definitions of bisexual, she would never call herself that.
In a new interview in The Guardian, Visage reportedly is not only attracted to men and women, but had past relationships with both. When the question was put to her was she bisexual, she answered flatly.
“No, when I grew up that wasn’t really a thing,” she said. :If it was, it was gay boys who would come out as bisexual first because it was easier for them. It was just if I saw a pretty girl and I was attracted to her, why not?” Ok, but that sounds pretty much like being a bisexual, why would Visage not want to identify with the label?
“I don’t want to take anything away from somebody who’s truly living a bisexual lifestyle,” she said. Oh boy.
While the article doesn’t dive into what the star meant by the comment, it seems to ride on the sentiment that bisexuals who are in opposite-sex relationships or monogamous relationships are in someway less bisexual. This is patently untrue; sexuality is about who you are attracted to. And though Visage is certainly free to identify how she pleases, the idea gets at notions that contribute to both bi-erasure and bi-phobia. Suffice it to say, your sexuality and identity are valid no matter who you are currently dating.
That said, RuPaul isn’t the only person who is queer in Visage’s life. In the piece, she also talked about what it’s like to have a queer daughter and see the impact Drag Race has on families.
“What I see is a lot more acceptance, a lot more tolerance,” she said. “I have a gay daughter, so the most rewarding thing is to see a parent stand by their queer child, whereas maybe even five years ago, they wouldn’t have understood.” Gay children are “being heard, being validated as human beings. I try to tell parents who are struggling that they don’t have to approve, they just need to accept. So how it’s changed mainstream is that. It still is made by gays, for gay people, but it’s now for everybody to find their color in the rainbow and realize that they’re not alone.”