Recently, Demi Lovato made headlines for an interview in which she declined to address her sexual orientation. The 25-year-old pop vocalist explained she deemed it unnecessary because being gay, straight, or somewhere in between had nothing to do with the quality of her music. Afterward, critics said Lovato should have seized the chance to declare her sexual orientation to stop magnifying the mystery. But Lovato tweeted,
Just because [I] refuse to label myself for the sake of a headline doesn't mean I'm not going to stand up for what I believe in. If you're that curious about my sexuality, watch my documentary. But I don't owe anybody anything.
Demi Lovato's statement on Twitter was bold. First, it revealed Lovato believes people should not have to proclaim their sexuality in an interview if they would rather play it close to the chest. Secondly, it indicated Lovato knows announcing one's sexual orientation is not a requirement of being an ally to the LGBT community. Lovato had personal reasons for wanting not to discuss the topic in that interview and others, so it was daring of her to take a stand against the notion that sexuality should be a matter of public discussion.
That last point could be significant. Sexual orientation questions are not unique to the gay experience, but they often are an aspect. (And you probably won't hear an interviewer ask a celebrity if she wants to share her harrowing story of coming out of the closet as straight.) So, by keeping quiet, Demi Lovato might be standing with the LGBT community to say it's time for interviewers to quit interrogating people.
However, people probably won't stop asking questions, so there is some sense in what was said by people who criticized Demi Lovato for seemingly mystifying her sexuality. By keeping her sexual orientation under wraps and promoting it as a talking point in a documentary, it could give potency to the very problem Lovato apparently wants to avoid.
Although Demi Lovato and her critics on this issue have drawn lines in the sand, they seem to be on the same side of the sandbox. Lovato has become an outspoken advocate for the gay community, and in the interview that caused contention, she hinted that her late grandfather, who happened to be gay, influenced her staunch advocacy for the LGBT community. She did not go into detail because when she previously talked about that subject, relatives who were unaware of her late grandfather's sexual orientation took offense.
It sounds like Demi Lovato can't catch a break, doesn't it? She thinks so, too. Lovato said it's hard not to get criticized these days for being "insensitive to certain groups" over issues like cultural appropriation. But Lovato acknowledged that "everyone's looking ... to have their voices heard."
Many questions about Demi Lovato's sexual orientation began when she released "Cool for the Summer" in 2015. Rumors said the song's lyrics referenced bi-curiosity. When reporters asked Lovato about the ambiguity, she refused to confirm or deny the intent but said personal experiences influenced the subject matter. Plus, she hinted that the bi-curiosity never went away. Lovato let the topic marinate, so the questions continued even when she was in a relationship with Wilmer Valderrama. But in the interview, she tied up loose ends saying,
My intention with the song was just fun and bi-curiosity. I think people look at song lyrics---they look too into it. I wish I could tell that website to "chill the fuck out" and "take a break," because it's just a song.
Then Demi Lovato talked about how focused she is on doing good works on behalf of the gay community but never using the LGBT community as a commodity to sell records. She explained that she hopes to create work that is good for the sake of being good. We'll have to stay tuned to see what big reveal (or lack thereof) Lovato has in store for people who check out her upcoming documentary.