In 2015, Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual and gender-fluid — and now, she’s reminding us that her marriage to Liam Hemsworth doesn’t erase her queer identity. Cyrus is currently on the cover of Vanity Fair, and in the accompanying interview, she opened up about her marriage and explained why her queer identity is as important to her as ever.
“The reason that people get married sometimes can be old-fashioned, but I think the reason we got married isn’t old-fashioned — I actually think it’s kind of New Age. We’re redefining, to be f---ing frank, what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship. A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person," she told Vanity Fair.
Cyrus is pansexual, meaning that she is attracted to people of all genders. In the Vanity Fair interview, she explained what marriage means to her. "What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality," she told Vanity Fair. "Relationships and partnerships in a new generation — I don’t think they have so much to do with sexuality or gender. Sex is actually a small part, and gender is a very small, almost irrelevant part of relationships.”
She also referenced Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Stronger Together,” to describe her approach to marriage. “Like, who gives a f--- if he’s a guy, if I’m a girl, or if he was a woman—who gives a f---?," she said. "We really are stronger together. One is the loneliest number."
Before her interview, Cyrus wrote a long personal statement on the Notes app that she shared with the writer of the piece, who quoted it throughout the cover story. A section on her sexuality reads, “Being someone who takes such pride in individuality and freedom, and being a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve been inspired by redefining again what a relationship in this generation looks like. Sexuality and gender identity are completely separate from partnership."
Just as sexuality and gender identity aren't determined by who you're in a relationship with, Cyrus reminded us that neither sexuality and gender identity aren't determined by what you're wearing or what you look like, either.
"I wore a dress on my wedding day because I felt like it, I straightened my hair because I felt like it, but that doesn’t make me become some instantly 'polite hetero lady.' (PS: Straight women are badass, too.)," she wrote. "My relationship is very special to me, it is my home. I feel less misplaced when we are in the same room, no matter where that is, but just because something changes in my relationship doesn’t mean something has to drastically change in my individuality.”
Queer people who are attracted to multiple genders often face erasure of their sexuality when they begin a monogamous relationship or a marriage. But your sexuality is about your identity—not your partner’s gender. Cyrus joins other pansexual and bisexual celebrities including Stephanie Beatriz, Anna Paquin, and Brendon Urie who have spoken out to remind people that their sexuality doesn’t depend on who they’re with.