Singer Kehlani came out as lesbian earlier this week, but she addressed the “privilege” she receives being a “straight-presenting” female in the industry during a recent interview.
“I have a lot of privilege,” Kehlani told Advocate. She says that he privilege comes from being a “cisgender-presenting, straight-presenting” person in a still very heteronormative world.
Kehlani has never shied away from discussing issues concerning the LGBTQ community. Years back, she made it clear that she identifies as “queer.”
Despite her coming out, she admits that the way she is presented helps to shield her from undergoing some of the harsh treatment her less straight-presenting peers experience.
“I think a lot of artists who we talk about and say, ‘Oh, they had to come out or they had to do this,’ a lot of them can’t hide it. A lot of it is very [much] in how they present. It’s tougher for them. It’s tougher for trans artists. It’s tougher for Black gay men. It’s tougher for Black masculine gay women.”
She adds, “I didn’t even really have to come out in my private life. I don’t walk down the street and people look at me and go, ‘Oh, I bet she’s queer’ or ‘I bet that she’s into women’ or anything like that because of the way I present.”
She acknowledges that she has been “lucky.”
“That’s all privilege and I think that there are quite a few artists who were truly at the forefront but weren’t able to make the strides that I was able to make being 100 percent myself because of the way they present and the biases and the phobias of the American public and the world… I’ve been lucky, super lucky.”