This past June, Detroit techno legend DJ Minx had officially had enough. Enough of hiding how she lives, who she loves, and who she truly is. So she sat down and wrote the Instagram post that would change her life. It was time to come out.
“June is Pride Month, so it felt like a good time to share a bit more about me. MY life — which is something I haven’t always found easy to do,” she wrote. “People suffer from emotional anxiety at the mere thought of ‘coming out’, but the stress of not doing so is taking up WAY too much of my space and is shaking my energy to the core. So here I am. Minx, DJ, producer, Momma, partner, lesbian, friend.”
What wasn’t obvious in this graceful coming-out message was how scared DJ Minx was to send it. “I had the highest level of anxiety I’d ever had in my life,” she revealed to The Advocate. “My partner came and she’s hugging me and it’s just like, rubbing my back. ‘It’s OK, honey. It’s OK. It’ll be OK.’ But then immediately the phone rings. And I look at the number and I’m like ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s my friend in Atlanta.’ She said, ‘I’m proud of you. You live your life.’ And then everything went gray because I was crying.”
It was a big moment for DJ Minx, both personally and professionally, and she feared she’d just put both her personal and very impressive professional life on the line. DJ Minx is one of the founding women of the Detroit techno scene. She’s the founder of the Women on Wax label and mentoring collective that helps elevate up-and-coming DJs. She was also named one of the 20 Women Who Shaped Dance Music by Mixmag in 2015. Needless to say, she had plenty to risk. Fortunately, coming out only served to open doors for the DJ, who subsequently garnered a major partnership with Spotify to celebrate Pride, dropped the Bob the Drag Queen-inspired track “Purse First,” and was included in a Pride mural in her hometown of Detroit. Not to mention the legion of new fans she’s found in the LGBTQ+ community.
Today, DJ Minx dropped her new record, Queendom, on the He.She.They record label and she’s set to play the Secret Project presents One Project event October 2-3. In the midst of a hectic yet exciting new period in her life, she sat down with The Advocate to share her dramatic coming-out story, what’s next for Women on Wax, and the true meaning behind the Queendom record.
Congrats on the new record, Queendom — that's very exciting. Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration behind it was about my coming-out. And I think we should probably get back to that part because that’s a longer story than any of this.
Yeah, let’s talk about how you came out in June. What inspired you to come out at that time?
It was such a long time that I thought about actually coming out. But I felt like it would be harmful to my career, musically. And because before I did music, I worked at General Motors as a project manager. And in the face of everyone every day, I felt like I had to be of the quote-unquote norm, so I never really talked about my lifestyle to them. And that was a low level of stress … just holding that inside, it was almost painful for me.
People very close to me let me know that, you know, that’s not OK. Don’t tell anybody about what you’re doing as far as your lifestyle, that will be a big mistake. So, just listening to people over time, I just kind of made sure I kept it to myself.
The only reason that I started even thinking about changing that was that I saw how much freer people were, that were out there, that were out, how they were living, how it was becoming more acceptable. And I said, “You know what, I’m going to do it.”
So I talked to my partner about it off and on for a very long time. And she said, “You have to live your life.” Right now with being secretive about everything, we can’t share anything publicly. People don’t know about us, because everything is a quote-unquote secret. And that’s not fair to her.
In March, I said, OK, I’m going to figure out a date to actually do it… I think that Pride Month is coming, that might be a good idea to come out during Pride Month. To myself saying …i f I have to kiss my career goodbye because no one loves me or cares for me anymore because of that, then so be it because I have to live my life.
So what happened on the day you came out?
Prior to that, I typed out the message that I wanted to deliver. I picked a picture. And I said I was gonna launch it the next morning. And so when I woke up that morning, I was pacing. I was like, “Oh my god…I can’t believe I’m doing this.” But I posted it. I posted it on Facebook. Shut down the app, posted on Instagram, closed my phone, and…said that’s it. I did it. I did it and I’m done.
How did it feel?
It was a huge relief at that point. Because looking at not only the comments but the people that left them. That’s what was important. The people that left them that I thought would be judging or homophobic. Then my phone rings again. Another one with support. The phone rings again, one of my friends crying. “Oh, Minx, I love you so much. I love you so much.” Then I’m looking at inbox messages. Look at my page. “I just came out, you inspired me.” Instagram was blowing up by the second amazing with all the people [like DJ] Honey Dijon [and] The Blessed Madonna. Honey Dijon was like, “Welcome to the family, girl. Now you can live.” The Blessed Madonna was like, “girl you know, I love you so much. And whatever you do, you have my support 100%.” I was crying for so long … and so much happened in such a small amount of time.
What about the fans?
I was concerned about the fans. But I shouldn’t have worried at all because … the amount of people that have supported me behind that post and fans; the fan base has done nothing but grow ever since. The community has welcomed me. I did a track called “Purse First.” And that was a nod to the way [Bob the Drag Queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race] always spoke about poise and entering a room purse first. That’s why I created that track. For the coming out.
So let’s circle back to Queendom, why that name for your record?
I have for years had a moniker that I use when I did remixes. I was one of the few female DJs out here [and I] wanted to acknowledge that it was a woman behind the curtain if you will. So, I thought of the name Queen Beats. And then later on, when people started to get used to that name, I said that I was “queening” or “being a queen,” or when I was supporting women and being a mentor, I will let them know that wear your crown because you are everything … be the boss that you are.
What’s up next for Women on Wax?
I am definitely going to be continuing to be a mentor because there are some up-and-coming DJs out there that need to be seen and heard and people are always looking for support.
I have several releases coming out on Women on Wax. Just lining them up. I’m still working on a production for a new EP for myself. I am also just going through it, as well as some things I can’t speak on that are big. So excited.
Now that you are out, what advice do you have for those who also want to but are afraid to?
My advice would be you need to speak to someone about it. Just know that folks are more supportive now than they’ve ever been with this lifestyle. It’s not like it used to be, I can understand that some people may be concerned about what their parents think, or what their parents say. But at the end of the day, it’s you that has to live the lifestyle, it’s you that needs to live, period. [If] you’ve got this enclosed inside of you, you’re not really living, you have to let go.
Queendom is out now.