'King Richard' Star Aunjanue Ellis: ‘I Am Queer — This Is Who I Am’

‘King Richard’ Star Aunjanue Ellis on Her Sexuality: ‘I Am Queer — This Is Who I Am’

Aunjanue Ellis
Aunjanue Ellis (Screenshot) People TV.

Oscar-nominated actress Aunjanue Ellis opens up about her sexuality and confirms her identity as a queer woman.

Ellis had already announced her sexual identity at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards on March 24. But no one asked the King Richard star about the word “Queer” spelled out in rhinestones on her Dolce & Gabbana suit jacket.

“I was thinking, ‘Why didn’t more people pay attention to that?’ And I was like, they probably thought it said ‘Queen,’” Ellis told Variety with a laugh.

The subtle announcement went unnoticed by many, Ellis recalls.

“It wasn’t that I was expecting any sort of major reaction or anything like that,” she said. “One of my family members noticed, but nobody else did.”

Ellis’ family is already aware of her queer lifestyle. The Lovecraft Country star has been open about being bisexual with her friends and family in her hometown of Mississippi. But her loved ones in the Bible Belt were a bit “hurt” by Ellis choosing to make her sexuality so public.

“I am a work in progress, and my family and my community are works in progress,” Ellis said. “I really believe that that is important to say because I’m not alone.”

“We see people on the other side of it, where everybody’s good and fine: ‘Love is love.’”

Ellis is used to her family being closed off to her sexuality but chooses to meet them halfway.

“If they come to New York and they are around all my gay friends, they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re cool.’ But don’t bring it to the house. Don’t be open with it.”

But being queer isn’t something Ellis chose. As an adult, she can now look back and note how early she knew she was queer after questioning misogyny in the Bible, among other instances.

“Why does a woman have to be submissive to a man?” Ellis recalled thinking when reading the Bible as a child.

“And then there was this other thing about me that I also didn’t understand.” One summer when Ellis was a teenager, she remembers trying to train herself to be attracted to boys, trying “to talk my body into correct behavior.”

As for why Ellis hasn’t talked about her sexuality until now,

“Nobody asked,” she said with a chuckle.