Actress Rowan Blanchard is a fast becoming one of our favorite young stars. The 14-year-old dazzles us with her awareness of what’s happening in the world. Case in point: Blanchard took the time to engage with a fan who tweeted, “BisexualRileyMatthews2k16.”
Instead of ignoring the tweet, the Girl Meets World star lent her voice to the important issue of creating more LGBTQ television characters. Blanchard plays Riley Matthews and said she would support the character being LGBTQ, because “its vvv important to me, being queer, that there is representation on our show.”
She then explained her definition of queer. “& being queer to me just means not putting a label on sexuality- just existing,” Blanchard tweeted.
Having a rising teen star voice her opinion about LGBTQ television characters is huge. There remains a lack of LGBTQ folks on TV, according to GLAAD, an advocacy organization that promotes more LGBTQ narratives in media. In its annual “Where Are We On TV" report, GLAAD found that only 4% of all characters on primetime network shows are LGBTQ. There are 84 LGBTQ characters on cable television shows — and only 18 of those characters identify as bisexual.
It’s an issue that deserves attention and Blanchard is certainly not afraid to shine a light on it. In her short time in the spotlight, the teen has used her platform to address white feminism and the importance of #BlackLivesMatter. She’s also pointed out why it’s ridiculous to ask a teenager about dieting and how asking a girl to smile is a form of harassment.
“I feel like we live in a world that, often, will kind of try and shut teenagers up, or kind of put them aside,” she told Entertainment Weekly about using her voice for change. “I feel like my thoughts and my opinions have always been very open, and they’ve always been very allowed, and I definitely want to encourage other teens to do the same and form their own opinions — even if they are the ones I disagree with.” Never change, Ms. Blanchard!