Teen sensation JoJo Siwa came out earlier this year, getting supportive messages from celebrities like Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Kim Kardashian West, and Lil Nas X.
But she said that some of the backlash against her was so bad that she couldn’t sleep for days.
Siwa first came to prominence as one of the students featured in two seasons of the reality show Dance Moms. From there, she has grown into a YouTube personality, teen entertainer, and one of the most influential people in the world, according to Time Magazine.
She has hit songs, fills stadiums for her concerts, and has merchandizing deals with Target, Walmart, and JC Penney where her name and face are slapped on all sorts of products.
Her audience is also very young and often come from conservative backgrounds, so it was a big deal when she came out. And while she has been getting some very public support, she opened up with People about the dark side of coming out as a celebrity at age 17.
She said that she read thousands of comments from fans after she came out. And then she decided to Google her own name.
“I never should have done that,” she said. “I was thinking that all the comments were going to be nice and supportive, and they weren’t.”
“A lot of them were, ‘I’m never buying your merch again. My daughter’s never watching you again.’ I couldn’t sleep for three days.”
But she said that she doesn’t care if they buy her merch: “My thing is, I don’t want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren’t going to support not only me, but the LGBTQ community.”
One mother posted on Instagram shortly after Siwa came out: “My daughter will never watch you again!”
“Okay!” Siwa replied to the adult.
She said that she doesn’t regret it. She has known that she isn’t straight from a young age.
“I think this is the first time that I’ve felt so personally happy.” Siwa said.
She said that she’s still exploring labels for her sexuality but that she usually uses the word “gay” at the moment, the same word that she used to come out to the world.
“I still don’t know what I am,” she said. “It’s like, I want to figure it out.”
“I like queer,” she continued. “Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that’s how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human.”