For my next installment in my “Stories of Sexuality and Gender” series, I was fortunate enough to score an interview with reality television star Romi Klinger.
Romi starred in the Showtime series “The Real L Word”, which is a spinoff of the original scripted series “The L Word.” This reality show follows the lives of ‘Lesbian’ women in California and then later, New York. I put lesbian in quotations because what that term means is not the same for everyone. As you will see with Romi, the “L” in this series didn’t necessarily stand for lesbian in her eyes, but instead, for love. For some, the “L” should have stood for “labels” because in season three, Romi’s sexuality and identity became hugely controversial; she married her one time ex-boyfriend Dusty Ray. The backlash she received from the LGBT community was mostly immense and vile. I asked her some interesting questions, and her answers were even more interesting.
Me: Where were you born and raised?
Romi: I was born in LA and raised in Pasadena.
Me: What do you identify as sexually? Or do you not like labels?
Romi: I identify as me. I can’t have a label if I’m always changing and always evolving. I am simply me.
Me: You were on a show called “The Real L Word” which is a reality spin-off version of the popular series “The L Word” ( The ‘L’ for our readers who may not know, stands for Lesbian). As an active member of the LGBT community for years, which did you think better represented queer women and why?
Romi: Lesbian is appropriate for lesbians or queer or gay or whatever you want. We have to put a name on everything don’t we? Lol. L stands for love to me. Love hard and love whoever, however you want.
Me: When you primarily were with women (both during the course of filming the show and not) did you ever have desires to be with a man? Or vice versa?
Romi: I have desires with anyone I’m attracted too, lol. No, for the most part, I’m more attracted to women, and I love women but I can find men attractive and do find them attractive. Maybe at times, I want to sleep with them or even marry them.
Me: In season 3 of the Real L Word, you shook up the show by marrying a man! You have been public about the extreme backlash you have received, mostly from the Lesbian community. Did this GENUINELY shock you? Did you not think that they would feel a bit angry or confused about seeing a hetero-normative relationship at the center of a show about “lesbians”?
Romi: If any of them watch The L Word, many stories like mine were told: ?Alice was bi, Tina went back to a guy, and Jenny started with a man. These are the journeys we go through in life. Sexuality and love are not just handed to you with full understanding. We should not feel shame in exploring it. Anyone who wants to sit back and judge better be fucking perfect.
Me: The LGBT community is constantly asking to be accepted. We work hard to try and open people’s mind and hearts. Because of this, do you think it is very unfortunate that so much of the backlash you received for marrying a man was from this community that is supposed to be so open minded and tolerant?
Me: Ha! Open-minded and tolerant to what they believe, to what makes them feel safe and what they are comfortable with and willing to accept as gay. I have nothing to prove anymore. I think people need to dig a litter deeper with their acceptance of the things they cannot understand. At the end just fucking love each other.
Me: We have heard a lot about your feelings regarding the treatment you received, but how about your ex-husband’s reactions? You have said in previous interviews that he is very supporting of the LGBT community. Did any of the backlash you received make him less supportive? Or is he still as supportive as ever?
Romi: He’s an amazing human being with a huge heart. He never understood the backlash and he didn’t care. He thought it was silly and he has and always will be for equal rights.
Me: Do you think labels are hurting or helping the LGBT community? I believe, for instance, they can give people a sense of pride and belonging, but I also think they can box people in. Your thoughts?
Romi: To each their own. We need a community for support and to help make change, but we as a community can not exclude or rip apart each other. It defeats the purpose.
Me: It seems more and more celebrity women are coming out as some form of queer. A few people blame this on “trendiness”. Do you think sexual fluidity is a trend or do you think it is just more common than people may realize?
Romi: It may be a trend for some or it maybe that time they are exploring other parts of themselves. We change and we become more secure and confident as we get older. This allows us to break down walls within us sexually. We open ourselves up to more and find out who we are. It’s beautiful really and scary at the same time.
Me: Lastly Romi, just for fun so our readers can know you better, having experiences with both men and women, who is your BIGGEST female and male celebrity crush!!! This is always my favorite question!
Romi: Oh God! For men, Jude Law hands down! That man is flawless.
For women,?Ronney Mara should be my wife! Just saying 😉
Thanks to Romi for her honest answers! Her perspectives on sexuality and love are very endearing to me, personally. She is a free spirit and doesn’t seem to like how people, often within the LGBT community itself, have to judge people’s identities so much; we all can love whoever we want and however we want. The backlash Romi received was very unfair because she was just living her life and didn’t plan on falling in love with a man, it just happened. And why is that so bad?
The rigidity that we often think defines sexually is not all that accurate. For many, sexuality is evolving, changing, and growing. For some, their sexuality may be rigid, but they should not judge others who may be more fluid. These are lessons that I have taken to heart from Romi’s story. Do you agree? What are your beliefs on sexuality, labels, and fluidity?
edited by Kyla Davis