Miley Cyrus has always been candid about her sexuality, and thankfully, it doesn't seem like she'll be stopping anytime soon. In an interview with Variety magazine published on Tuesday, the singer opened up about coming to terms with her sexuality and feeling empowered by her sexual identity and activism within the LGBTQ community. "My whole life, I didn’t understand my own gender and my own sexuality," she said. "I always hated the word 'bisexual,' because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl." Cyrus, who openly identifies as pansexual (the term refers to attraction to people of all genders and sexes) and gender-fluid (gender identity that isn't limited to the binary of male or female, and that may be defined as shifting between the two, or a wholly different non-binary identity), said that she first discovered her sexual identity "when I figured out what it was." "I went to the LGBTQ centre here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories," she told Variety. "I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female. Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life." "Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more," she continued. "I was like, 'Oh — that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.'" Since then, she has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights. Last year, she launched the Happy Hippie Foundation to raise awareness and funds for LGBTQ youth, homeless youth, and other underprivileged populations.
Her involvement and activism in the LGBTQ community, she told Variety, has given her a sense of purpose and drive. "My empowerment comes from feeling like I have a purpose now," she said. "On my tombstone, I didn’t want the 'Wrecking Ball' lyrics. I wanted it to be something greater. I’m the only fucking Disney star who would say I’m pro-lesbian and gay, before it was okay to say that." As Cyrus mentions, her openness about her pansexual identity as a Disney star has had (and will continue to have) a major impact on the discussion of LGBTQ issues. That, coupled with her continued activism, is empowering both for her and the LGBTQ community.