With increased attention on LGBTQ issues and greater visibility in the media, it might seem like the battle for gay rights is a thing of the past. However, more so than ever before people have been questioning their own sexual identities, and they don't always fall simply into the categories of gay or straight.
While most people have the chance to figure that out behind closed doors, certain celebrities have seen an opportunity to enlighten some minds and push for some representation. These seven famous faces have thrown away labels or actively pushed away strict notions of sexuality and in the process have inspired a whole new generation of fans.
1. Rowan Blanchard
At only 14 years old, Rowan Blanchard has put more thought into her own identity than most full-grown adults. Earlier this week, she announced that she identifies as queer (a recently reclaimed word that encompasses more categories that just simply gay).
A queer identity can be more comfortable for people who don't want to be confined to the strictly same-sex words like gay and lesbian, and it seems that Rowan appreciates that freedom.
2. Amandla Stenberg
A good friend of Rowan Blanchard, Amandla Stenberg of The Hunger Games fame has proven that she's leading the zeitgeist in how she approaches many things including social media, social justice, and sexuality. She's been open with her fans on her Tumblr page and shows just why a "questioning" phase is so important to people who are uncertain about how they identify. Earlier this year, she answered a question about her sexuality.
In 2016, she came out as a bisexual woman, and it just goes to show that she had the space and time to consider who she was as a person. Though many people hate to feel in flux, it can be a helpful discomfort that leads to authentic self-worth.
3. Miley Cyrus
Part of Miley Cyrus's career reinvention has included an openness about who she is and how she identifies. She told Paper Magazine that she is comfortable with a fluid sexuality, and that the only thing she cares about in a partner is consent.
"I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with."
4. Ruby Rose
Australian actress and model Ruby Rose came out at a lesbian at the age of 12, but she more recently made headlines when she announced that she identifies as gender fluid. As the concept is pretty new to most people, Ruby has explained exactly what it means for her own self-identity:
Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you're at one end of the spectrum or the other. For the most part, I definitely don't identify as any gender. I'm not a guy; I don't really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I'm somewhere in the middle, which – in my perfect imagination – is like having the best of both sexes.
Ruby is the perfect example of how sexuality and gender operate on two different poles. She may always be attracted to women, but her gender identity and gender expression oscillates back and forth within the binary. Take a look at this short film she produced to highlight her fluidity:
5. Ezra Miller
Like so many others on this list, Ezra Miller (a.k.a. soon to be our cinematic Flash in DC's Extended Universe) does not look at his sexuality in black and white terms. He told The Daily Beast that he chooses the umbrella term "queer" to describe himself because it encompasses those gray areas that so many people occupy.
"The way I would choose to identify myself wouldn’t be gay. I’ve been attracted mostly to ‘shes’ but I’ve been with many people and I’m open to love wherever it can be."
6. Cara Delevingne
After Vogue published an extensive profile on Cara Delevingne that discussed her relationship with singer Annie Clark (better known by her stage name St. Vincent), the actress and model was hit with criticisms that suggested her attraction to women would only be a phase. As Cara remained clear about her attraction to both genders, she refused to back down when it came to her identity.
My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am.
It's clear she just wants to live her life and love who she loves without a peanut gallery constantly bursting in to tell her how she should behave.
7. Kristen Stewart
For years, fans and journalists alike have pestered Kristen Stewart to reveal her sexuality. She had dated Robert Pattinson for a while and had the well-publicized fling with director Rupert Sanders, but people have never really stopped bugging her about her personal life.
In 2015, she finally answered these people in truly awesome fashion. After saying, "Google me, I'm not hiding anything," she went on to maintain that she's not putting any labels on herself because she enjoys the ambiguity of life.
"If you feel like you really want to define yourself, and you have the ability to articulate those parameters and that in itself defines you, then do it. But I am an actress, man. I live in the f------ ambiguity of this life and I love it."
Overall, it seems like the younger generations are just more comfortable accepting the reality that human sexuality is a bit more complicated than two reductive categories, and I think we'll only be seeing more announcements like this in years to come.