When Kylie Jenner finally announced her pregnancy on Super Bowl Sunday, there was a noticeable response from the lesbian community. Still, it was all about Kylie’s sister Kendall.
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. Every highly-publicized move seems to be a part of an elaborate plan spun by matriarch Kris Jenner.
Kylie’s pregnancy, for example, was an open secret. Fans dissected every tabloid shot, Instagram story, social media post 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 occurred with Caitlyn Jenner’s own coming out as trans. The media attempted to suss out the scenario before the Jenners decided to make a public proclamation in a 2015 interview with Diane Sawyer.
Online hints and Kendall’s fandoms
When it comes to Kendall Jenner’s perceived lesbianism, the world is still waiting for confirmation. When Kris Jenner says it’s okay. Previously, Babe.net published, “I’m pretty sure Kendall Jenner is gay, and I have evidence for days.” The piece claimed that Kendall is a lesbian because of her close friendship with Bandier Creative director Lauren Perez and model Cara Delevingne.
Okay, so there is no actual “proof” that Kendall is family. She’s never publicly commented on her sexuality publicly. Still, it seems generally accepted amongst gay women that she is the queer Kardashian. Her friendships with other female models are often fodder for tabloids like OK. There was even a @KendallBeing Gay X account, which has since been suspended. In it’s prime, it was updated 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,” the owner of the account 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 says Jenner’s boyfriends (who have included Harry Styles and 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.”
Stand-up comedy’s take on Kendall’s sexuality
L.A.-based LGBTQ+ comic Liza Dye performs a bit about Kendall 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 Kardashian she 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 heterosexuals wouldn’t necessarily pick up on. Kendall is barely on Keeping Up With the Kardashians (“usually a quick shot and then she’s off on a flight to go work”). Plus, her behavior “ring[s] true for most gays in a family of straights.”
“There’s a familiarity in how 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 higher, dare I say, homosexual intellect. 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.”
Kendall Jenner’s public life and potential impact of coming out
Kendall Jenner was the top-earning model of 2017. Forbes estimated her having made $22 million from gigs with Estée Lauder, La Perla, and Adidas. (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 about her value. That, should she ever come out as queer, she’d become less valuable to more prominent 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. That stigma that could threaten a public figure’s “worth” in the eyes of a corporation looking to appeal to a broader audience.
Kendall’s close friendship with Delevingne is one reason lesbian and bisexual fans insist on 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.”
Does Caitlyn have something to do with it?
Dye suspects Kendall’s potential coming out was thwarted by the attention brought to Caitlyn Jenner’s 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 [parent] 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. More recently, Kendall attended a Pride celebration in London with Bella Hadid. Fans also speculate she’s romantically intertwined with, but has never said anything publicly about being anything besides heterosexual.
Dye theorizes 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 delicately and carefully, but I don’t think it’s something that we will see for a while, unfortunately.”
Is Kendall’s body language the key to her sexuality?
Most of the speculation about her orientation seems to come from the undeniable masculine androgyny that she sports even when wearing her long hair, high heels, and a feminine cut. There are undoubtedly straight-identified tomboys in the world. Yet, this clocking has happened with other celebrity women who eventually came out as gay, bi, or queer. Ellen DeGeneres, Kristen Stewart, Jodie Foster, and Kristy McNichol, to name a few.
What they have in common, outside of their respective queer identity, is a specific swagger. 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.
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. She doesn’t specify “he” or “him” when asked about current or future lovers). In fairly unrevealing interview with friend Delevingne for Harper’s Bazaar, Kendall affectionally calls Cara “bro” and does not mention her boyfriend. In her plans for the future, she says she wants children but also hopes to “be in love.”
The ongoing mystery of Kendall Jenner
Kendall never uses pronouns when speaking about things like romance, marriage, or even kissing. Remember 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 supermodel Kendall has yet to clarify her identity, she is still figuring herself out, and with the added pressure of the public eye. Other young starlets have had similar trajectories before coming out on their own terms. So, perhaps we’ll get our queer Kardashian yet. Still, what Kendall has come to symbolize, more than anything else, is our want to identify with of America’s most famous family.
It’s also worth noting that Kendall’s oldest sister, Kourtney Kardashian, has flirted with bisexuality in the past. However, it seemed to have been for a storyline more than an actual interest in women. On an episode of Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Kourtney spent time without bisexual actress Jackie Cruz. The two even shared 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. It seems Kendall 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.”
Kendall Jenner: The lesbian community’s hope
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.”
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