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Billie Eilish, Sophia Bush, And Other Celebs Reveal The Pressure To "Label" Their Sexuality

Billie Eilish’s quote heard ’round the world has been buzzing in my ears since her cover story for Rolling Stone‘s May issue dropped on April 24: “I realized I wanted my face in a vagina.” Same, girlie, same. As a queer writer, my phone was vibrating off my desk with friends asking if I had read this iconic line. Why? Because there’s nothing us gays and girls love more than the breadcrumbs of celebrities’ sex lives — particularly when they’re queer. Is this problematic? Yes. How so? Let’s get into it.

In a recent interview with GlamourSophia Bush spoke about being publicly recognized as queer for the first time — after a LOT of online harassment. She was pegged as a “homewrecker” for leaving her husband of one year to date professional athlete Ashlyn Harris (who also recently separated from her wife). And while that narrative isn’t entirely accurate, it compelled Sophia to speak out about her sexuality. While she admits to hating the notion of “having to come out in 2024,” she also recognizes its place in this often dumb, cruel world. “There were more than 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills proposed in state legislatures in 2023, so for that reason I want to give the act of coming out the respect and honor it deserves.”

But despite internet trolls demanding answers about the private lives of celebrities, there are moments of joy too. Or, at least, the complicated thrill of finding oneself and then owning it. “Right now, I think the word that best defines it is queer,” she tells Glamour. “I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great.”

Between Billie and Sophia, Reneé Rapp, and others, many celebs are opening up about their sexuality. (And by “opening up,” I mean being pressured by the media to conform to a label.) Sure, we can still get excited by the larger representation of the LGBTQ+ that these stars provide— but we can also be upset about the means to get it. And because media literacy is dead, I’ve gathered quotes from celebs that affirm the nuances of putting a label on their sexuality.

Billie Eilish
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Billie told RS that she wrote part of her new song, “Lunch,” before “even doing anything with a girl.” The lyrics describe eating a girl out. More specifically: “I could eat that girl for lunch/ And she dances on my tongue/ Tastes like she might be the one.”

She went on to say, “I’ve been in love with girls for my whole life, but I just didn’t understand — until, last year, I realized I wanted my face in a vagina. I was never planning on talking about my sexuality ever, in a million years. It’s really frustrating to me that it came up.”

Of course, Billie is referring to her interview with Variety in which she mentioned her attraction to women. Then a month later at Variety’s Hitmakers event she was asked if she meant to come out in that story. Later that day, she posted on her Instagram: “Thanks Variety for my award and for also outing me on a red carpet at 11 a.m. instead of talking about anything else that matters. I like boys and girls leave me alone about it please literally who cares.”

Sophia Bush
Image Credit: (Photo by Erika Goldring/Variety via Getty Images)

In a recent Glamour cover story, Sophia Bush spoke on the end of her marriage (but not being a homewrecker!) and being publicly recognized as queer for the first time. “Would I have liked to make the public part of this journey a choice for myself, and not have it taken from my lips and set ablaze by gossip blogs and bottom-feeder online bots? Of course.”

Absolutely fair!! That said, she continued, “I am so lucky to be here, now. I have real joy. It took me 41 years to get here. And while I marvel at it, I will also make space for people’s pain. But I will not carry anyone’s projected shame.”


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Reneé Rapp
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While Reneé Rapp stole our hearts as the posh closeted lesbian in The Sex Lives Of College Girls, she didn’t officially come out as a lesbian until this year. Previously identifying as bisexual, the pop singer made it clear in a March tweet that people needed to stop questioning her newfound label: “if I say I’m a lesbian I am a lesbian and if someone says they’re bi they are bi I’ve had enough of you witches.” At Coachella, it’s clear she’s found her happy place with girlfriend Towa Bird, and I cannot wait for more lyrics a la “Can a gay girl get an amen?”

Rebel Wilson
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Rebel Wilson opened up about the pressure to label her sexuality in an interview with People. This is probably why she launched her dating app Fluid, where the main benefit is that you don’t have to define your sexual orientation.”I know that, to me, it doesn’t matter about the gender, it just matters about the person.”

She continued, “I never thought I was 100 percent straight. I don’t quite know how to define my sexuality, but I do know there’s a lot of people out there that don’t want to totally define it either.”

Harry Styles
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Harry Styles has long been on the receiving end of queerbaiting speculation. For his Rolling Stone cover story last year, the British singer addressed the accusations head-on: “I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it.”

He made it clear in an interview with Better Homes & Gardens that he believes the expectation to define your  sexuality is outdated. “It doesn’t matter, and it’s about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you’re checking.”

Wow, did Harry Styles just get hotter?

Melanie Whyte
Melanie Whyte
Melanie Whyte (she/her) leads the lifestyle and relationship content at Betches. As an amateur New Yorker and professional bisexual, she enjoys writing about the bane of sex and relationships in the city. She is also perpetually in her messy house era despite spending all of her money on Instagram ads.