In a new interview with Net-A-Porter, Tessa Thompson clarified her sexuality rather succinctly when she stated, “I’m attracted to men and also to women.” And naturally, the conversation turned to the rampant speculation that her collaboration with Janelle Monáe on Monáe’s “emotion picture” for her new album Dirty Computer was more than just artistic.
But if you’re looking for Thompson to label their relationship, well — you may not get quite the answer you’re hoping for.
“It’s tricky, because Janelle and I are just really private people and we’re both trying to navigate how you reconcile wanting to have that privacy and space, and also wanting to use your platform and influence.”
Thompson recognizes that, though she’s fortunate to have a family that accepts her and her choice of partners no matter what, not everyone is in the same situation. So being open and visible for people who can’t be is important. But, as she asks: “Do I have a responsibility to say in a public space that this is my person?”
Representation matters, but there is a difference between being open about your sexuality and being open about your relationships, and celebrities are entitled to draw the line where they need to. Not to mention the fact that sometimes labeling a relationship is HARD. We are becoming more nuanced in how we talk about sexuality, but in terms of relationships the conversation is often still rooted in assumptions of monogamy, with questions like “Are they going out?” or “Are they a couple?” Loving relationships can be nuanced as well, which is why Thompson’s answer about her feelings for Monáe feels just as important to me as her comments about her sexuality:
“We love each other deeply,” she says. “We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency. If people want to speculate about what we are, that’s okay. It doesn’t bother me.”
Look, this has been a garbage week all around, so maybe I just needed something nice to focus on, but c’mon — “we vibrate on the same frequency” is #relationshipgoals, no label necessary.