Sarah Jaffe’s album Suburban Nature was one of my favorites of 2010. The Denton, Texas native has been working on her debut album for the past three years, and we wrote about her during the early writing/recording process in 2007, when we covered the Dallas lesbian scene. Although we didn’t specify her sexuality, our writer covered her set and also shared that Sarah was an AfterEllen.com reader which, as you probably know, doesn’t make you a lesbian by default.
Somewhere in that time, though, it was somehow just known that Sarah Jaffe didn’t identify as straight. But since our policy is to not “out” people or write they are out if they haven’t, in fact, made a statement indicating as such, I was having a hard time figuring out where Sarah’s incredible album fit in to my end of the year music wrap-up. So, just to be safe, I e-mailed her publicist asking how she identifies, because “I loved her album and wanted to put on our Top 10 list for the year but wasn’t sure if she was out.” Notice I wasn’t requesting an interview, or anything from the publicist other than some clarification. The response:
Thanks so much for thinking about Sarah for this, but I think we’ll have to pass on this one.
I was a little confused — pass on being listed as having an awesome album? Or pass on being queer? It didn’t make me less of a fan of the album or of Sarah’s, but it did serve as yet another reminder that some people aren’t as open about their sexuality, even if it means that they are being praised for happening to be gay but, most importantly, having made an incredible album.
So it didn’t really surprise me to see a new interview with Sarah in The Dallas Voice, in which she touched on her sexuality — and her AfterEllen.com coverage from 2007. An excerpt:
Jaffe’s “small amount of success” has already been on the receiving end of the “is she or isn’t she” curiosity. She received accidental lesbian attention when AfterEllen.com included her in a travel destination piece on Dallas and, she surmises, the writer mistook her for Erase Errata’s Sara Jaffe. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise — it expanded her audience base.
“I do have a large lesbian following and it’s great anywhere it comes from,” she says. “Any sort of relating that anybody can get out of music is a wonderful thing.”
Interesting — so Sarah is happy to have fans relate to her no matter how or where that comes from — including, perhaps, a shared not-so-straight identification when it comes to their sexuality? It appears, then, that this might be a sad case of the homophobic-by-default publicist. But that publicist can’t stop Sarah if she is really as honest and forthcoming about her sexuality as she was with The Voice.
Sexuality is gray for me but people are gonna talk about those things. I’ve loved men and I’ve loved women but it’s more like I relate to a human connection.
And by that definition, Sarah would have definitely fit right in on the list. Too bad her publicist wasn’t interested in that kind of “connection” Sarah hopes to encourage.
Now go buy Suburban Nature, or watch this video for the single “Clementine” and fall in love with Sarah Jaffe.