Did Madonna's "I'm gay" TikTok really mean what we think it means?

According to Cassandra Peterson (a.k.a. Elvira) Madonna hit on her girlfriend back in the day

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published October 15, 2022 4:58PM (EDT)

Colombian singer Maluma (R) performs on stage along with pop icon Madonna during his concert "Medallo in the Map", in Medellin, Colombia, on April 30, 2022.  (FREDY BUILES/AFP via Getty Images)
Colombian singer Maluma (R) performs on stage along with pop icon Madonna during his concert "Medallo in the Map", in Medellin, Colombia, on April 30, 2022. (FREDY BUILES/AFP via Getty Images)

In an early jump on National Coming Out Day, which was October 11, Madonna posted a cryptic clip to TikTok that has left fans scratching their heads ever since. 

In the video, which is very brief at only five seconds long, but loaded with subtext; pink lettering reading "If I miss, I'm gay" overlays Madonna crumpling up a pair of pink panties, aiming to shoot them into a trash can in her bathroom, and missing. 

The style of the video plays on a recent TikTok trend, but Madonna's addition to the trend is curious. The sex-positive singer has been linked to a series of women in the past, with actress Sandra Bernhard being one of the most notable amongst them, but is she saying something here that we didn't already know? Aside from a dalliance with women here and there, the mother of six has historically only had lengthy relationships with men. Well, as far as we know. Could this be her attempt to say otherwise? Or is it just more queerbaiting to jerk LGBTQ+ fans along? There's certainly a lot of that going around these days. Looking at you, negroni sbagliato

Most assume that Madonna is just having a bit of fun, while others don't care much one way or the other, but Cassandra Peterson (a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark) says she wouldn't be surprised if the singer was being sincere in the video.

"I can tell you something interesting. Madonna hit on my girlfriend," Peterson said recently to TMZ. "She wanted to hire her as a trainer but it was obvious she wanted more than training." 

Last year's release of Peterson's memoir "Yours Cruelly, Elvira" revealed that she's been in a relationship with the woman that Madonna hit on, fitness trainer Teresa "T" Wierson, for the past 20 years.

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"Madonna has been having sex with women for longer than the internet had existed, this is not news," says one person on Twitter.

"What do you mean, you are amazed Madonna came out as gay? Where have you been since 2003," Tweets another fan.

"I've finally collected hard evidence that gay people can't pay attention to more than one thing at a time," tweets writer and director Jill Gutowitz. "Yesterday Madonna — MADONNA — made a tiktok saying she's gay and queer women were still like *arms out hobbling like an army of zombies* NEGRONI SBAGLIATO WITH PROSECCO."

"I did not have Madonna comes out on TikTok by throwing underwear at a basketball hoop on my Sapphic Mad Libs Bingo card today, but I don't mind being surprised," says Autostraddle writer Heather Hogan.

Others have taken a more suspicious stance.

"Madonna queer baiting for relevance in 2022 is not something I expected," tweets one person. 

"Madonna in her old age continues to seek validation from young people, stay relevant and seeking attention comes out as gay.. there I fixed it for you," says another

In August, to celebrate her 64th birthday, Madonna made out with two female friends in the back of a limo, which she documented in a video for Instagram

Whether it was a definitive statement she was making with her "I'm gay" TikTok or not, Madonna is still out there being Madonna. Best to not get "hung up" on the particulars. 

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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Cassandra Peterson Elvira Madonna Sandra Bernhard Tiktok