You may know Donald Glover best as the creator of the hit FX series Atlanta, or recognize his music under the name Childish Gambino. Recently though, Glover has made candid revelations that invite us to see the acclaimed actor and rapper in a more personal light. Most surprisingly, he opened up about his years-long questioning around his sexual orientation. So, is Donald Glover gay? Let’s take a deeper look at what he shared.
Here’s a quick answer:
Donald Glover has not openly identified as gay, but in a 2020 interview he shared questioning if he was gay in college years. Glover expressed unsureness about his sexuality and resisting labels due to not feeling fully safe as a Black person. While he may be queer, he has yet to definitively state his orientation.
Glover’s College Confusion Over Sexual Identity
In a September 2020 interview with Michaela Coel for British GQ, Glover reflected on feeling uncertain of his sexuality during his formative college years. As he told Coel:
“Most of my college years were me being like, ‘I don’t know what I like.’ I had friends who asked, ‘Are you gay?’ And I’d be like, ‘I sort of feel like I am because I love this community.’”
This powerful quote indicates Glover seriously contemplated if he might be gay at one time. His affinity and comfort within queer spaces evidently made him question if he himself identified that way.
Many young people undergo a similar process of exploration around labels and communities that resonate with them during college. Given society still overwhelmingly assumes heterosexuality, wrestling with anything outside of that “default” can naturally spur questioning.
Glover elaborated on why he resisted settling on any one label, gay or otherwise:
“I always was trying to figure out, ‘Am I weird for not wanting to label it?’ Yet, also, I never felt completely safe in just one place.”
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Again, Glover expresses understandable skepticism about confining his identity with “security” of fixed categories. Simultaneously feeling his safety threatened, as explored further below, also likely complicated defining his orientation clearly.
Ultimately at age 37, Glover demonstrates admirable self-assurance around embracing fluidity in how he discusses his sexuality now.
Does “Not Straight” = Gay Though?
Glover confessed to some same-sex attractions and relationships over the years. For instance, photos surfaced in 2009 of him kissing comedian Dominic Dierkes on the lips.
However, experiencing homosexual feelings or behaviors does not necessarily denote a gay or bisexual identity. Plenty of people engage sexually outside societal norms at some point without claiming queer labels.
During the deeply reflective chat, Glover weighed in generally on the issue:
“There’s security to being identified…‘I’m a straight white male’ or ‘I’m a gay Asian dancer’ — you can find community easily and safely.”
We all long for places to belong in this world. Yet Glover astutely notes how even communities formed around marginalized identities involve trade-offs. Social categories invariably exclude as they include, projecting values onto individuals rather than vice versa.
For someone like Glover with an expansive, unorthodox creative spirit, resisting tidy labels seems aligned with who he is. He likely also cherishes maintaining privacy around his romantic involvements from the harsh glare of fame.
The Burdens of Black Masculinity
Beyond sexual identity per se, Donald Glover described feeling doubly burdened by sobering experiences of racism. One troubling incident from adolescence still haunts him:
“It was really intense…when one of my white friends used the n-word in front of me…I was in high school, so I didn’t really have the emotional tools to really be like, ‘Oh, I understand,’ because I had no experience.”
No one, least of all a teen, can readily withstand such acute racial aggression from a friend. Glover heavily implies enduring frequent racism eroded his overall sense emotional safety growing up.
Michaela Coel also related feeling objectified as Black woman herself from non-Black friends. They problematically declared sweeping attraction towards Black men rather than seeing people as individuals.
Simultaneously facing denigration and exoticization clearly imposes damaging pressures on Black creatives like Glover and Coel. Perhaps small wonder then that Glover came to feel unable to feel “completely safe in just one place” in light of pervasive racism.
Is Donald Glover Gay…or Simply Seeking Safety?
We may never know if Donald Glover identifies as LGBTQ. What matters more is if people feel free to be themselves. Glover implies he rarely enjoyed that basic right growing up Black in white America. His early repression may linger in wariness about publicly addressing his orientation. Yet with genre-bending projects like Atlanta, Glover has embraced artistic liberation.
By opening up about self-acceptance, he can help us understand identities exist on a fluid spectrum. Even if Glover never clarifies being gay, his revelations represent progress. Because a major Black celebrity has shared the common reality that sexuality falls along a spectrum too.
1. Has Donald Glover ever publicly identified as gay?
No, Donald Glover has not openly labeled himself as gay. In his 2020 interview with Michaela Coel, he discussed questioning if he might be gay in college. However, Glover has not adopted any definitive sexual orientation label to date.
2. Who is Donald Glover married to?
Donald Glover has kept his romantic relationships exceptionally private over the years. There have not been any public reports on him being legally married. Some fans speculate he may be involved with someone, but noconfirmed partner is known.
3. What TV shows and movies has Donald Glover made?
Donald Glover is best known as the creator and star of the critically acclaimed FX series Atlanta. He also played Troy Barnes for several seasons on the sitcom Community. His film credits include The Martian, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Lion King (2019), and more.
4. How did Donald Glover get the name Childish Gambino?
Donald Glover uses Childish Gambino as his stage name when performing music. According to interviews, he randomly generated the name Childish Gambino using an online Wu-Tang Clan name generator.
5. Has Donald Glover spoken more about sexuality since his 2020 interview?
As of late 2022, Donald Glover does not seem to have commented further on his sexuality publicly following his GQ interview with Michaela Coel. He remains fairly private about his dating life and orientation identification. Glover continues focusing efforts on his acclaimed Atlanta series and music career.