Kerry Washington Denies Lesbian Rumors, Expresses Support For LGBT Community
Kerry Washington denied rumors that she is a lesbian in an interview published on Thursday.
Washington, 36, is notoriously tight-lipped about her life. “It’s interesting how much people long to fill in the gaps when someone in the public eye doesn’t share their personal life,” Washington told The Advocate. “I understand their frustration.”
Washington explained her reasoning for never confronting the lesbian rumor before. “I’ve never been bothered by the lesbian rumor. There’s nothing offensive about it, so there’s no reason to be offended,” she said. “When you buy into the cultural idea of what’s acceptable and unacceptable, you reinforce negative stereotypes and prejudices.”
Washington told the magazine how she feels about having LGBT support for her show, Scandal. “For our show in particular, because it represents such diversity on so many levels, sexual orientation included, it means a lot,” she said. “I always want to be a part of work that speaks to people across the lines that divide us.” She discussed a time when she used to guess which of her films a fan wanted to talk to her about based on his/her outward appearance, but said that Scandal changed the game because of the wide audience it reaches.
Kerry Washington As Olivia Pope On 'Scandal.'
Washington had early exposure to the LGBT community, having grown up around many gay people. “I grew up in a progressive household. Both my parents had gay friends — some who were out and some who still aren’t out — so I didn’t grow up without exposure to gay people, and that was a definitely a gift,” she said. “At 13 I started working with NiteStar, a theater education program in New York City that came together at the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic. We wrote and performed a show about adolescent issues and sexuality, and as a peer educator I worked closely with people in the LGBT community and alongside LGBT performers.”
Washington has performed as numerous characters that are part of the LGBT community over the years. She played Brittany Murphy’s lover in The Dead Girl, a transgender prostitute in Life Is Hot In Cracktown, and a lesbian in She Hate Me. Additionally, she was recently given the title of Honorary Co-Chair for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) Respect Awards.