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Legendary will be a competition show about ballroom voguing, a style of dance that is commonly associated with the LGBTQ community. Jamil faced backlash for her part in it because fans assumed she was a cisgender, straight woman. The criticism of her appointment as a Legendary judge was only fueled when the show reportedly passed on another judge who has ties to the LGBTQ community.
The Good Place actress addressed the backlash and came out as queer in a statement written on the Notes app and posted to Twitter.
“I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter,” Jamil wrote. “But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid.”
Jamil added that she wanted to use her “star power” to elevate people who she described as “marginalized stars.” She said her 11 years of hosting experience and complete impartiality is what qualifies her to be a judge (she also received criticism for a lack of ballroom dance experience).
“Sometimes it takes those with more power to help get a show off the ground so we can elevate marginalized stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance,” Jamil wrote. “I’m not the MC. I’m not the main host. I’m just a lead judge due to my 11 years of hosting experience, being fully impartial, a newcomer to ballroom (like much of the audience will be) and therefore a window in for people who are just discovering it now, and being a longtime ally of the lgbtq community.”
Brooke Sjoberg is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also the Daily Texan's Life and Arts Editor and an editorial intern for Texas Connect magazine.