27 June 2000

Handed by Dan J
Interview by Diane Anderson-Minshall

Sinead comes out


Q. In the past, you've expressed concerns that Catholicism is cut off from
the waist down.  Is sexuality less important to you than it was a decade

A. No, it's extremely important to me!  I'm not a celibate priest, although
celibacy would be a question and perhaps a calling for me - although not
really, but i believe it should be voluntary.  But sexuality is hugely
important to me.  I would be a highly sexual person; I think most creative
people are.

Q. Of course, you've been a huge icon to lesbian women for over a decade

A.  That's been a great honor.

Q. Why do you think lesbians are so drawn to you and your music?

A. Um, I think they see themselves in me.

Q. Because you're outspoken? Non-traditional in your appearance?

A. Yeah, and because I'm - what's the right way to put it? [Pauses.] I think
I'm very like them.  I would say that I'm a lesbian.  Although I haven't
been very open about that and throughout most of my life I've gone out with
blokes because I haven't necessarily been terribly comfortable about being a
lesbian.  But I actually am a lesbian.

Q. You are a lesbian?

A. Yeah. So the thing is, I think that's probably why they would see
themselves in me, because they could see something in me that perhaps I
hadn't actually necessarily acknowledged in myself.

Q. And is this something that you want to reconcile now?

A. It's something I reconciled with a long time ago, really.  But I think
they can see themselves in me and had a representative in me.

Q. But, I think for a long time women have probably wanted to hear you name
it.  And of course, when they hear about your husband or your boyfriends
they just assume that you're -

A. Well, yeah, well, see, I was Irish, I am Irish, so I was brought up in a
culture where it wasn't a good thing to be gay and so I was quite
uncomfortable with it for a long time.  And I didn't really want people to
know about it and a lot of my friends don't know about it, you know?  And I
wasn't necessarily comfortable about the whole world knowing about it
because I hadn't come to terms with it myself.  Or understood myself.  But
actually there's fucking nothing wrong with it and in fact it's a beautiful

Q. So you feel comfortable with it now?  You're at peace with it?

A. Yeah, I'm much more at peace and much happier being myself.

Q. Have you encountered homophobia in your career?

A. A lot of people around me don't know that I'm a lesbian because I've
never sort of flashed it around them.  I've kept myself very private, so
people like my manager and my friends - they wouldn't know that about me.
Only very few of my close friends would know.  But, what was the question?

Q. Well, I was wondering if you've encountered homophobia in your career?
Because I think even people who aren't gay encounter homophobia -

A. The thing is, I've been very private and secretive about it, but I may
now encounter, in the future I may encounter, homophobia.  It's interesting,
though.  As a priest, I was afraid that my bishop, for example, would be
upset or that my Order would be upset when they found out.  But they were
amazing, and I was really honored by that...they called, each one of them
called and said, you know, they really gave me their blessing and said that
they were totally cool with it.  And my family, obviously, is totally cool
with it.

Q. Has it changed in Ireland?

A. Ireland is very homophobic, which is, again, another reason why it would
have been very difficult for me.  My younger brother also is gay and he's
been beaten up in the streets.  There was one gay center in Dublin years
ago, kind of a social drop-in center, and it was burned down.  It is an
extremely homophobic society.

Q. You just went through a pretty difficult custody battle last year.  So
many of the elements of your situation rang true to lesbians, as many are
parenting with friends or trying to work with donors, and fear losing their
kids.  What have you learned from that experience or what advice would you
give to women in similar situations?

A. What advice I'd give is to honor the father of your child as best you can
and to forgive him as best you can.  As long as he's not physically abusing
you or your child, or sexually abusing you or your child, allow the father
to have the child half the time.  And to really ask - if necessary, pray -
for the ability to forgive.  But, most importantly, honor the father of the
child, never shut him out of the child's life.  And to honor the child by
honoring the father.

Q. You said you had in mind that once you got to 30 you'd be able to leave
your childhood behind.  Has that been true?

A. Yes, very much so; well, more when I got to 33, actually, so it was a few
years later.


"A man that won't go inside a woman - that's terribly controlling, which is
a good reason for being a lesbian, frankly"
-Sinead O'Connor, talking about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, on The
Howard Stern Show, June 9