Just as Pride Month was ending, the Gay Gods decided to bless us with one last gift. On Sunday, Lil Nas X posted tweeted this:

If that wasn’t clear enough (even though there was a rainbow emoji and a Pride Month reference), he followed up with this:

Although the Tweet is pretty clear, I wouldn’t say that a rainbow tower on an album cover is “deadass…obvious,” especially because he then posted this cryptic tweet yesterday:

So, does that mean he’s bi? Or maybe he’s gay and he’s playing at a double meaning of straight?

Obviously, I’m extremely happy and proud that Lil Nas X made this major step. Coming out in any form takes courage, and I imagine that it’s even harder with his new popularity and reach. As Lainey wrote earlier, Lil Nas X is a disrupter. He’s young, he’s black, he’s creatively complex, and now he’s part of the LGBTQ community. I think it’s remarkable that the artist who’s currently turning the industry on its head is a queer, Gen Z, person of colour. Also, "Old Town Road" is now a certified Gay Anthem™ meaning that the song that has topped the charts for 13 consecutive weeks was made by a queer artist. What a way to end Pride Month!

According to USA Today, a fan called out Lil Nas X for using this moment as a publicity stunt. We know that Nas understands social media and viral moments, and he knows how to turn those moments into opportunities. He did it with Billy Ray Cyrus, and his Rolling Stone profile revealed that he created "Old Town Road" with viral in mind. But as Lil Nas X said in his reply to the accusation, he doesn’t need the publicity right now.

What he might need instead is to take back control of the conversation around it. Rumours of Lil Nas X’s sexuality have been floating around on the internet for a while, in conjunction with his purported involvement with a Nicki Minaj fan account on Twitter.

Here’s the rundown if you’re not caught up. Nicki stans dug up an old Twitter fan account with the handle @nasmaraj (Nas + Nicki’s real last name). The account posted about Nicki, memes, and even viral choose your own adventure Twitter threads (precursors to the Beyoncé one). Although prominent in its day, the account was deactivated (for violating Twitter’s spam rules), but fans who mentioned it were immediately blocked, and publications that wrote about the account retracted their statements after a representative from his team denied his involvement with it.
I’m not here to speculate whether or not he ran the account (that’s what this article is for), but followers of @nasmaraj knew that whoever ran the account was gay. Since Lil Nas X was believed to have run the account, fans began to berate Lil Nas about it, accusing him of hiding his queer identity to pander to a straight audience. Here’s a screenshot of a now deleted Tweet:


I don’t think Lil Nas X coming out was anything other than him trying to be authentically himself. In fact, I sincerely hope that that’s all it was. Strategically, however, it’s a smart way to redirect the conversation about his past. I worry, though, that the fans who dug through his past and confronted him about his sexuality with comments like the one above forced him to make an announcement. You can come out many different times and during the process, slowly include different groups of people. For a long time, I was out to my friends at university, but not to my friends at home. Assuming Nas did run that fan account, he may have felt comfortable posting about his sexuality there, but not as Lil Nas X the world famous rapper, and that’s okay.

At the age of 20 and at the current pace of his career, Lil Nas X probably has a lot of pressure and a lot to manage. Coming out for him is understandably a big step, even if his casual demeanor makes it seem otherwise. For his sake, I hope that his decision to come out came from wanting to share his identity with the world and not from needing to take control of rumours about his past. Either way, we’re proud of you Lil Nas for being yourself, brightly coloured cowboy outfits and all. Happy Pride. 

Here's Lil Nas X perfoming at Glastonbury on the weekend with Miley Cyrus.