JoJo Siwa has come out as a member of the LGBTQ community.
The 17-year-old US children’s star and former Dance Moms performer got candid with her fans during an Instagram Live video at the weekend where she confirmed the news that she’d been hinting at for a few days.
The social media celebrity, who is said to be worth a cool $18 million, last week sparked speculation she was gay after sharing a TikTok video of herself lip-synching to Lady Gaga’s LGBTQ anthem Born This Way.
She followed that up with a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt that she says she received from her cousin that read: “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”
“Personally I have never, ever, ever been this happy before and it feels really awesome. I‘ve been happy for a little bit now. It’s just so, so, so awesome,” Siwa told her followers in a video posted yesterday. “You guys probably haven’t seen me this happy since I was on tour.”
She explained that she does not identify as being straight, but stopped short of putting any more labels on herself, saying she’s not fully sure where she stands with labels at this time and doesn’t want to apply any while she’s still figuring things out.
“I think humans are awesome, I think humans are really incredible people. Right now, I’m super duper happy and I want to share everything with the world but I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be public,” she said.
“Right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it’s OK. It’s awesome and the world is there for you. There are so many people that are there for you.
“I know everyone’s situation is different and it might be harder for some people and it might be easier for some people to come out or be themselves but I think coming out has this stigma around it — that it’s this really, really, really scary thing, but it’s not anymore. There are so many accepting and loving people out there that it’s OK.”
She went on to note that she’s aware that there will be people who will criticise her decision to come out. However, she explains that she hopes to send a message to people to value their own happiness over what other people think.
“Of course people are going to say it‘s not normal, but nothing is normal. Literally not one thing about anybody is normal and it’s OK not to be normal, it’s OK to be a little different, it’s OK to be a little weird, strange, different. That’s something we should never, ever be afraid of. That’s something we should be proud of.”
Siwa went on to explain that she always knew she could be comfortable in a romantic relationship with either a man or woman.
However, because she has never fallen in love, it wasn’t something she felt she had to put a label on until now. She also touched on how her family reacted to the news, noting that her mother seemed to know even before she did.
“My parents have known. My mom said she’s known for the last two years. She’s like, ’I just know with you!’,” Siwa said.
“Around two years ago, she was like, ‘I don’t think you only like boys, that’s totally okay.’ They’ve always been so everything … My family is awesome,” she said.
Celebrities quickly reacted to the post, including talk show host Ellen DeGeneres who replied with a heart emoji, while rapper Lil Nas X joked if u spell ‘swag’ backwards, it’s ‘gay’. Coincidence??”
Siwa, who has a popular YouTube channel where she shares videos from her everyday life, shot to fame on Dance Moms in 2015, before launching her successful solo singing career in 2016.
Renowned for wearing big, colourful bows in her hair, Siwa embarked on her first major concert tour in North America, the UK and Australia in 2019.
She was included on Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020.
This story originally appeared on Fox News and has been reproduced here with permission