Wayne Brady Coming Out as Pansexual Is a Big Deal

Dawn Ennis | Washington Blade

Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association

Someday it won’t matter when a celebrity comes out as LGBTQ+, but until that day comes, when every orientation and identity is embraced, accepted and respected equally, this is how it goes: Wayne Brady told TikTok and Instagram followers that he is pansexual, and People magazine told the world. 

“I am pansexual,” he told the magazine’s Jason Sheeler in an exclusive interview. “Bisexual — with an open mind!” Brady added. 

Sheeler explained to People readers that this means he is “attracted to persons regardless of their sex or gender.” In its wide-ranging media guide, GLAAD defines “pansexual” as “an adjective used to describe a person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity. This is one of several terms under the bi+ umbrella.” 

As the most mainstream television personality to come out so far, Brady is a standout among other pan celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Janelle Monáe, Cara Delevingne, Asia Kate Dillion, Jazz Jennings and JoJo Siwa. 

Brady, 51, shot to stardom in 1998 on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” the TV show that showcased his enormous talent at improvisation, a program that’s still on the air with Brady now serving as an executive producer. The Georgia native is also an actor with dozens of credits to his name, in movies, on Broadway and on television, and served as the host of the rebooted “Let’s Make aa Deal.” 

The first person Brady came out to was his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa. “I just said, ‘Great.’ As I knew coming out would help him be happier,” she said. 

Taketa is co-parenting a toddler with both Brady and her partner, Jason Fordham. Brady and Taketa, 47, also have a daughter, Maile, 20. The blended family of four are currently filming a reality show for Hulu, according to the magazine. 

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Wayne Brady (@mrbradybaby) • Instagram photos and videos

“I love all people equally, and now that includes myself,” said Brady. That’s a turnaround from a bitter time more than 20 years ago, when the actor had a falling out with a writer on “The Chappelle Show.” It was over a joke that Brady insisted as recently as 2021 offended him mostly because it wasn’t funny: “White people love Wayne Brady because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X,” the late Paul Mooney said on Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy show. 

Brady was later invited to appear on the show in a hilarious and memorable sketch that portrayed him in an entirely different light.

For People magazine, Brady wrote his own coming out story. 

“I’m pansexual,” he wrote. “In doing my research, both with myself and just with the world, I couldn’t say if I was bisexual, because I had to really see what that was, especially because I really have not gotten a chance to act on anything. So, I came to pansexual because — and I know that I’m completely messing up the dictionary meaning — but to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or nonbinary. Being able to be attracted across the board. And, I think, at least for me for right now, that is the proper place. I took pan to mean that not only can I be attracted to any of these people or types physically, but I could be attracted to the person that is there.”

Brady went on to share his journey toward self-discovering, noting that once he started down that road, he had to start “owning up” to things he’d been represeeing or suppressing.  

“I’ve done a lot of work on a lot of other things until now, one of the last things on that checklist was, what’s one of the last things that you need to be really happy and to be truly, authentically yourself?” he wrote. “I gave joy at work. But the pity is then I come home, and I don’t have that joy. I have joy because I love my daughter and I love my family. I love being a dad more than chocolate ice cream. But that can’t be my only joy. I have to love myself. And that’s when I realized that I had a problem because if I can spend everything on stage and on camera but then I come home and there is a love deficit, what is going on? That was my rock bottom.”

Brady explained that while he was never suicidal himself, he has empathy for those dealing with those feelings. “I did all the therapy I could do. I was treated for love addiction. It’s a part of my journey,” he wrote. “I had to start examining why I was looking for myself and happiness in a slew of people. If I marry this person, then everything will be fine. If I date this person, everything will be fine. I’ll be good. I’ll be fixed. That is obviously a problem. And so, in doing that work, I now know absolutely that love addiction is borne of trauma. I can’t feel any shame around that, just like I wouldn’t shame somebody if they said they were addicted to meth or cocaine. That’s a sickness.”

The performer honed in on how he reached the conclusion that he is pansexual. “I’ve been attracted to men at times in my life. But I have never dated a man,” he wrote, but added, “I’ve also been attracted to certain men in my life, but I’ve always pushed that aside because of how I was raised, and because I live in today’s world, and it’s scary as s–t. What’s the fastest way to hurt another man? I’m gonna call you out of your name. I’m gonna call you gay. I’m gonna emasculate you. I’m gonna use the F-word. I learned that very early from the people around me, they’re like, ‘Oh, so those are bad things? Yeah. You, you don’t wanna be that.’ 

So, what does it mean if I feel something? I don’t think I’m gay, but what if I feel something for another [man] … That’s still gay. I was already bullied about a bunch of other s–t. I didn’t wanna add a top hat on top of that suit.”

Going forward, he wrote, he’s just “trying to be the most Wayne Brady I can be.”

Follow Wayne Brady on Instagram at @mrbradybaby and on TikTok at @waynebrady.

The National LGBT Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here:


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