Jillian Michaels wants to re-claim anti-LGBT slurs like "fag" and "dyke" for herself — and she thinks you should, too.
The veteran "Biggest Loser" trainer, 41, opened up about her private life in a candid interview with PrideSource. Although she’s quick to recall her early struggles with her sexuality, Michaels said she doesn’t need to make "big statements," instead choosing to simply live her "life and [her] truth."
"I’m on the younger end of Gen X, and for me, growing up gay was not cool. Gay was gross. Gay was despicable," she told PrideSource’s Chris Azzopardi.
"I have watched as a people and as a country and a culture over the course of my teenage-into-adulthood life and I do still think there is a tremendous amount of homophobia that exists. I wanted to take an approach of, ‘Hey, I don’t need to win you over and I don’t need to fight with you and I don’t want to combat you,’ but what I do hope is that homophobic people observe me, observe my family, and go, ‘Oh my god, this isn’t at all what I thought it was. This is actually pretty similar to my family; they’re going through things that my family goes through.’"
Michaels, whose new E! docu-series, "Just Jillian," debuts Jan. 19, said she and her friends have "claimed" anti-LGBT slurs and "made them our own."
"I use ‘dyke’ and joke about it. My gay male friends and I use ‘fag’ and joke about it," she said.
"What we’ve tried to do is take some of the venom out of the terms by reclaiming them — and I hate to draw this reference — but in the same way the black community has taken back the ‘n-word.’ We don’t allow them to harm us or hurt us and there could be a whole psychology about why we do, but we all do."
Thus far, she said, it’s proven to be a useful approach.
In 2014, the trainer and multimedia personality, who has been dating her partner, Heidi Rhoades, since 2009, made headlines when she told Health magazine, "The ‘gay’ thing has always been hard for me … Look, I wish I had some strapping football player husband. It would be such a dream to be ‘normal’ like that, but I’m just not."
Michaels, who later said her comments had been misconstrued, tried to set the record straight once again in a "Larry King Now" interview this week, a clip of which can be viewed below.
"What I was trying to say is that being gay isn’t a choice," she told King. "Nobody chooses to have a harder life, and it is a harder life. You just are born the way that you’re born."
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