John M. Becker

Miss Cleo: 'I'm as Gay as a Two-Dollar Bill'

Filed By John M. Becker | May 05, 2014 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: coming out, documentary, hotline, Miss Cleo, psychic

miss-cleo-psychic.jpgMiss Cleo, the iconic 90s pay-per-minute phone psychic, came out of the closet as a lesbian in 2006.

Her unlikely story is the topic of Hotline, a forthcoming documentary from Tony Shaff. In a recent interview with IndieWire publicizing the film, Cleo -- a.k.a. Youree Dell Harris -- opens up about what her coming-out experience was like:

"I'm as gay as a two dollar bill, same as you," she said to me. "And I mean no disrespect, because I'm gay. And for a long time... Long before you were even born, in fact. And in the black community and the Jamaican community, that's not easy. Not at all. As a matter of fact, when I came out publicly in 2006, I lost a large portion of my family. It's so difficult. I'm grateful for all you younger folks where it's not that way anymore. But I'm a mom. I have grown children. I'm not sure how old you are but I'm pretty sure at least two of them are older than you. And it was tough worrying that someone would take your children because of who you are."

She continued:

"Even though it's 2014, not every person you run into is going to embrace you. But at some point in time you have to stand for something or you fall for it. So by the time the media had thrown me out there to whatever devices, I thought, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to take back my power. I'm not going to let them out me, I'm going to out myself. And I did it with The Advocate, and they did a very good job. I don't know if people ever read it. We were laughing about it earlier, I think only about 30% of people who know of me know that I'm gay. They're clueless! I don't hide... I've been gay since I was about 16. I went to an all girls boarding school and loved my mother for it. She would die if she heard that but she's already dead so it doesn't matter."

If you missed the 2006 Advocate article where Miss Cleo came out (like I did), click here to read it. And her full interview with IndieWire can be found here.

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