Richard Aunjanue Ellis city Hollywood state Mississippi Pride Richard Aunjanue Ellis city Hollywood state Mississippi

Aunjanue Ellis Opens Up About Acknowledging Queer Identity in Her 30s: 'There Was No Place for It'

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Aunjanue Ellis has been open about her sexuality for decades, but when asked why her personal life has rarely been in the media, the 53-year-old actress pointed out that «nobody asked.» In a candid interview with , the  actress recalled walking down the red carpet at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards in March with the word «Queer» emblazoned on the left arm of her red-hot Dolce & Gabbana suit jacket.

But nobody on the press line or inside the event ever asked her about it.«I was thinking, 'Why didn’t more people pay attention to that?' And I was like, they probably thought it said 'Queen,'» Ellis told the outlet, laughing. «It wasn’t that I was expecting any sort of major reaction or anything like that.

One of my family members noticed, but nobody else did.»The Mississippi native shared that she realized she was queer at the tender age of eight years old and growing up in «a God-fearing family in the Bible Belt» had her fearing rejection from her family and trying to «train» herself to be «correct.» «The solitude of that is so lonely, it’s violent,» she said. «It’s violent because you literally have to tuck and place so many parts of you to be acceptable, so people won’t run from you and don’t want to be around you.

It was exhausting. That’s what childhood was like. That’s what adolescence was like. I knew [my sexuality], but there was no template for it; there was no example of it; there was no place for it, and certainly no forgiveness for it.»Ellis revealed that she fully acknowledged her bisexuality in her 30s, and while she was aware that being out would have repercussions, she wasn't going to hide who she was. «I am a work in progress, and my family and my community are works in progress,» she shared. «I.

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