When Kylie Jenner finally announced her pregnancy on Super Bowl Sunday, there was a noticeable response from the lesbian community, but it was all about Kylie’s sister Kendall.
the real question is when will kendall jenner finally tell us she’s gay
— caitlin (@notwokecait) February 5, 2018
The only secret that is left is Kendall Jenner being gay
— jai (@jaicutch) February 5, 2018
Can @KendallJenner confirm my theory that she’s gay already? Please and thank you.
— mona lily (@itslitmona) February 7, 2018
Now just waiting for the news to say, @KendallJenner is gay. Yay 😏👏🏽🌈
— eileen 🤙🏽 (@missecheee) February 6, 2018
just sitting here waiting patiently for Kendall Jenner to come out of the closet
— Darbi Fought (@DarbiFought) February 5, 2018
Can Kendall Jenner just come out already and be the lesbian icon all of us girls need to see?
— Hannah Slone (@HannahRaeSlone) January 27, 2018
Speculation about Kendall Jenner’s sexuality has been a part of the cultural conversation long before her younger sister’s delivery. But the Kardashian/Jenner clan are both celebrated and criticized for their carefully plotted delivery of family secrets and announcements, with every highly-publicized move seeming to be a part of an elaborate plan spun by matriarch Kris Jenner. As a family and a brand, the marketing of each member’s endorsements, business deals, and relationships are given more attention and scrutiny than Donald Trump’s administration. Kylie’s pregnancy, for example, was an open secret, as fans and followers dissected every tabloid shot, Instagram story or social media posting, as well as the family’s Calvin Klein ad to sleuth what she had been trying to hide. (Surprising no one, she decided to announce the birth of her new baby on Super Bowl Sunday.)
A similar scenario befell Caitlyn Jenner’s own coming out as trans, with the media and internet attempting to suss out the scenario for themselves before Kendall and Kylie’s parent deciding to make a public proclamation in a 2015 interview with Diane Sawyer.
But when it comes to Kendall Jenner’s perceived lesbianism or bisexuality, the world is still waiting for the confirmation they are confident will take place on Kris Jenner’s timing. In December, Babe.net (the site infamous for its story of Aziz Ansari’s alleged sexual harassment) published a story called “I’m pretty sure Kendall Jenner is gay, and I have evidence for days.” The piece detailed that Kendall must be a lesbian because she has a close friendship with Bandier Creative director Lauren Perez and out model/actress Cara Delevingne, and Tyler the Creator’s Twitter joke about their both “being gay.” (Tyler, who has often used anti-LGBT epithets in his music, has since come out as having had relationships with men.)
While there is no real “proof” that Kendall is family (she’s never publicly commented on her sexuality), it seems to be generally accepted amongst gay women that she is the queer Kardashian.There is a Tumblr dedicated to Kendall’s alleged gayness, and her friendships with other female models are often fodder for tabloids like OK! An anonymous but self-described “22-year-old cis lesbian” runs the @KendallBeing Gay Twitter account, which she updates with tidbits supporting the hypothesis that Kendall is, in fact, gay.
“I started the account because me and a few of my lesbian friends online suspected Kendall Jenner of being gay,” she wrote INTO in a DM. “We would always talk about how we see ourselves in her and how she would be such good lesbian representation in Hollywood. We basically were all like ‘She’s so gay. GAY ICON.'”
She goes on to say she thinks Jenner’s boyfriends (who have included Harry Styles, rapper ASAP Rocky, and currently NBA star Blake Griffin) are “publicity stunts.”
“I don’t see much PDA with the paparazzi pictures,” she writes. “I get a lot of gay vibes from her. “She’s always saying she’s a tomboy. I just connected the dots.”
Out L.A.-based comic Liza Dye performs a bit about Kendall (whom she sometimes refers to affectionately as “Kenny”) in her stand-up act.
“I’m a Kendall girl ‘cuz I’m gay,” she said in her set at Dynasty Typewriter on Tuesday night. “Kendall is the gay Kardashianshe is. Straight people are like ‘What about her boyfriend?’ That’s what we refer to in the straight community as a beard. It’s when a closeted homosexual person dates someone of the opposite sex to appear heterosexual themselves.”
Dye tells INTO that Kendall reads as queer in ways that heterosexuals wouldn’t necessarily pick up on. She notices that Kendall is barely on Keeping Up With the Kardashians (“usually a quick shot and then she’s off on a flight to go work”), and her behavior “ring[s] true for most gays in a family of straights.”
“There’s a familiarity in the way Kendall carries herself and behaves,” Dye says. She’s very quiet and observant, which is something I relate to and I think is quite a common trait of someone from a higherdare i say, homosexualintellect. The chic tomboy attire that she typically dons speaks volumes about her place in life and how she wants to appear; chic but minimal and, above all, comfortable. She doesn’t like to draw a lot of attention to herself and she, for the most part, keeps a low profile.”
On stage, Dye jokes that Kris Jenner’s hold on her daughter is why Kendall hasn’t yet come out. She jokes that Jenner, the Kardashian momager, likely threatens Kendall: “‘I swear to god if is see one photo on Instagram of you eating some model’s cookie all your shit is cut off! All of your shit!'” Dye says in her Kris Jenner impersonation. “I know she’s at home telling her that right now. It sucks because like we don’t haveeveryone has a Kardashian. There’s a fat Kardashian, there’s an ugly Kardashian, there’s even a black Kardashian. When are we gonna get our gay Kardashian? It’s not fair, you know? It’s like…it makes me so mad.”
Kendall Jenner was the top earning model of 2017, with Forbes estimating her having made $22 million from gigs with Estée Lauder, La Perla, and Adidas, among other brands that have bought into her appeal. (No mention of that abhorrent Pepsi ad, but it likely contributed as well.) Should Kendall actually be lesbian or bisexual and in the closet, most seem to believe it’s because she or her mother could be concerned of her value; that, should she ever come out as queer, she’d become less valuable to larger brands. While there are certainly out and successful models (including Delevingne, who has since pivoted to acting), there is still a stigma attached to non-straight celebrities; one that could threaten a public figure’s “worth” in the eyes of a corporation looking to appeal to a wider audience.
Kendall’s close friendship with Delevingne is one reason lesbian and bi fans are insistent upon her potential sexual fluidity.
“Her close friendship with Cara Delevingne also made me wonder about her,” writes the @KendallBeingGay creator. “It was kinda strange that they were so close then they suddenly stopped hanging out? Gal pals? “
“Their intimate relationship appeared to be quite public and open,” Dye says. “They didn’t seem to care about showing PDA and their love for each other in photo shoots and on red carpets, they seemed to be quite in love. And then suddenly, Cara disappeared from her life. This was clearly a breakup. I think Kendall could have been ready to come out when she was close with Cara and I believe that Cara was actually helping her to be more comfortable with her sexual identity.”
Dye suspects that Kendall’s potential coming out was thwarted by the attention brought to Caitlyn Jenner’s own coming out as transgender.
“Kendall would have been more comfortable continuing on this journey of self discovery,” Dye says, “but things happen in our lives and families and we must set our own hopes and dreams and desires aside to assist a parent or loved one. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been to go through, especially publicly, not to mention the possibility of questioning your own sexuality while your father is going through probably the most public gender transition of all time. It’s a lot.”
Kendall has been spotted at a gay bar in New York City (with then-boyfriend Styles), and more recently, a Pride celebration in London with Bella Hadid (who fans also speculate she’s romantically intertwined with), but has never said anything publicly about being anything besides heterosexual.
Dye therorizes that Kendall’s appearance at London Pride was part of an upcoming “coming out” episode that Kris Jenner and KUWTK EP Ryan Seacrest are plotting.
“I’ve heard from several gay male stylists that have been on shoots with her that they are actually prepping her coming out story line, which brings me hope but in honestly, is mostly just hearsay,” Dye says. “I think it will be handled delicatelyas it shouldand carefully, but I don’t think it’s something that we will see for a while, unfortunately.”
Most of the speculation about her orientation seems to come from her undeniable masculine aira kind of androgyny that she sports even when wearing her hair long, high-heels, and a feminine cut. If the Kardashians were the Spice Girls, Kendall would be Mel Cbut even Mel C maintains she isn’t gay despite others’ objections. (Mel B, for the record, is the queer one.) There are certainly straight-identified tomboys in the world, but this same kind of clocking has happened with other celebrity women who eventually came out as gay, bi, or queer: Ellen DeGeneres, Kristen Stewart, Ellen Page, Jodie Foster, and Kristy McNichol, to name a few. And what they have in common, outside of their respective queer identity, is a specific of swagger; a masc aesthetic that does not extend, of course, to all lesbians or bisexual women and is not exclusive to them, but is often a shared trait.
In 2007, a study produced the findings published in “Swagger, sway, and sexuality: Judging sexual orientation from body motion and morphology,” which had researchers at Texas A University finding that an individual’s “gait” can help identify their “target” (aka what kind of partner they might be looking to attract). Women who walked with a “swagger” were seen as “gender atypical,” thus deeming them more likely to be homosexual, according to the study.
“When walkers were described as depicting men, they were more likely to be judged homosexual when swaying than when swaggering,” researchers note. “When walkers were described as depicting women, in contrast, they were more likely to be judged homosexual when swaggering than when swaying.”
Kendall Jenner has a swagger, one that is identifiably different from her sisters. But what Kendall also shares with the aforementioned swaggering celesbians is that she plays the pronoun game in interviews (read: she doesn’t specify “he” or “him” when asked about current or future lovers). In a new fairly unrevealing interview with friend Delevingne for Harper’s Bazaar, Kendall affectionally calls Cara “bro” and makes no mention of her boyfriend. In her plans for the future, she says she wants children, but also hopes to “be in love.”
It is noticeable that Kendall never uses pronouns when speaking about things like romance, marriage, or even kissing like she did recently on Movie Night With Karlie Kloss, where she shared her idea of an ideal smooch.
“I think the chemistry, obviously. Like, you have to have the chemistry,” she said. “You have to like them. It’s not much if you don’t really care. Like I’m not a pretender. Like I’m not gonna like be into someone and like not show it. If it’s not there then I’m not gonna like try to push for something. I’m just like, ‘OK, bye.'”
While 22-year-old supermodel Kendall has yet to make any kind of clarifications on her own identity, she is surely still figuring herself out, and with the added pressure of the public eye. Kristen Stewart, Ellen Page, and other young starlets have had similar trajectories before coming out on their own terms, so perhaps we’ll get our queer Kardashian yet. But what it seems that Kendall has come to symbolize, more than anything else, is our want to identify with one member of America’s most famous family.
It is worth noting that Kendall’s oldest sister, Kourtney Kardashian, has flirted with bisexuality in the past, though it seemed to have been for a storyline more than an actual interest in women. On an episode of the KUWTK spin-off Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, the former spent time with out bisexual actress Jackie Cruz, the two sharing an on-camera kiss.
“That was a fun time,” Kourtney later told E! “But I feel like I’m definitely into men.”
Yet no one is calling for Kourtney’s coming out. Kendall, it seems, is the lesbian community’s sole gay Kardashian hope.
“If Kendall Jenner was gay and came out, I think it would throw a huge stone that would start the ripple that could change the world,” Dye says. “When a famous gay woman comes out, its usually swept under the rug by mainstream media or dismissed as a phase or something degrading and silly. But Kendall has an incredible platform and if done right, she could really use her celebrity and her voice to start a new dialogue around female homosexuality in high fashion, which is not discussed.”
And though Sapphic fans are salivating waiting for Kendall to speak about having a not-so-straight sexual identity, most appear to want the best for her. They feel a kinship to her. Ultimately, they see themselves in her in an otherwise high-femme heterosexual family that dominates current popular culture and often finds its way into modern politics, including those related to LGBTQs.
“At the end of the day, it really isn’t anyone’s business,” Dye says. “I just think it would help so many young women if she were gay and were to come out. … It just seems quite impossible that there’s that many women in a family and not a single one of them is gay. Hopefully one day.”