Amandla Stenberg Is The Gay Teen Icon 2018 Needs

Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images.
“OUT & PROUD,” actress Amandla Stenberg captioned a technicolored photo from their shoot for Wonderland magazine. While Stenberg has identified as non-binary, bisexual, and pansexual in past interviews, they have chosen to come out as gay and they couldn’t be more excited to share it with their fans.
“So happy to say the words, ‘Yep, I’m Gay’ in official print,” they continued. The interview was opposite the up-and-coming pop hitmaker King Princess. In it, they discuss “gay sobbing, first encounters with lesbian masturbation, queer icons, Toni Morrison, disillusionment as a critical step, the art I’ve been working on, and the films that I have coming out this year.” They thanked her for creating a safe space to discuss not only their sexuality, but the unique and unifying experiences that come with it. “I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way,” Stenberg shared in the interview. It is refreshing and inspiring to see someone so young and so open about discussing not only their own experiences, but the idea of how we process that experience through an ingrained lens. “The continual process of unlearning heteronormativity and internalised homophobia can be difficult,” they continued. “But one of the biggest blessings lies in the magic that comes from having to understand love outside the confines of learned heterosexual roles.”
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So much of teen pop culture is about exploring and finding out who you are as a person, and as a burgeoning teen celebrity, Stenberg is doing just that. In recent years, it is becoming progressively more common to tell stories from new perspectives. Or rather, perspectives that have been around all along that are finally getting a chance to be heard.
Celebrities like Stenberg are making a case for the importance honest and vulnerable conversations surrounding the subjects of sexuality, gender, and orientation. It’s a detailed and complex topic, but thanks to the openness of people like Stenberg, it is getting easier.
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