Reneé Rapp opened up about her decision to publicly identify as a lesbian.

Why Reneé Rapp Identifies As A Lesbian & Not Bisexual

"I didn't want to ... make bisexual people feel sh*tty."

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For Reneé Rapp, coming out has been a years-long process. She first revealed she was bisexual in a 2022 interview with Vogue, but at the start of 2024, she confirmed she now identifies as a lesbian. She made the public announcement in a Saturday Night Live sketch, recently revealing that she asked the writers to change the reference to her character from “bisexual” to “lesbian.” In a June 6 Them profile, Rapp detailed how she felt “so afraid to publicly change [her] identity” in that moment.

“I had privately been calling myself a lesbian, saying it to my friends,” Rapp said, speaking about the days leading up to her SNL appearance. Before the Jan. 20 show, Rapp asked writer Celeste Yim to change an important word in one of her sketches. During a skit about lip readers, cast member Bowen Yang was meant to introduce Rapp has his “little bisexual intern.” Rapp initially asked for “bisexual” to be changed to “gay,” and then after a pep talk from a friend, had the line changed to “little lesbian intern.”

After the sketch aired, Rapp hid away. “I stayed off my phone for a couple days because I was so f*cking terrified and felt so sh*tty,” she recalls. “But then it was just, like, a thing, and it felt good.”

She explained that she didn’t want queer communities to misinterpret or feel slighted by her changing identity. “I didn’t want to do it and be like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not using the word ‘bisexual,’ and make bisexual people feel sh*tty,’” she said. “I also didn’t want to be like, ‘OK, I’m ‘gay’ and have all the lesbians be like, ‘Say you’re bisexual, then.’ I felt so wrapped up and scared.”

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Another part of the fear was Rapp’s internal battles. “I still have incredibly homophobic thoughts toward myself constantly,” she said. “‘Lesbian’ was not a good word for me to hear as a kid, and now it’s something that I have such a close emotional connection to.”