Since she came out as a lesbian in 2013, Raven-Symoné has been vocal about supporting the LGBT community. And, in a frank new interview for It Gets Better, the 30-year-old is continuing to drive conversations about sexuality by addressing how it felt being gay during her Disney days.
Being a child actor from such a young age strongly shaped Symoné as a young person, and she partly blames being branded from such a young age for the difficulties she later faced recognizing and coming to terms with her true self. Raven explained:
"My likeness… had 15 people dictating what I should and should not look like, if I did whatever I want, I’m not gonna sell ’cause it doesn’t go with the brand. I was branded at such a young age."
This pressure to present herself in a sellable way later led to an even bigger disconnect for Raven when she began to realize that she was gay, she told interviewers:
"My awareness of my sexuality was prevalent to me at 12, but there was some things younger in like the single digits. I had friends that I experimented with, but I never went far because I knew that this can’t be talked about."
After pushing herself to like boys because she felt ashamed of her feelings toward girls, Raven kept on finding new reasons to conceal the fact that she was gay, including her homophobic reaction when Ellen DeGeneres came out.
Raven ended up seeing her own personality and desires as totally unimportant, remaining in the closet for years, she explained:
"I never thought I would come out because my personal life didn’t matter, it was only what was supposed to be sold as the ‘Raven-Symoné’ brand."
Luckily, things changed for Raven when she fell in love for the first time and left the industry behind for a well earned break, and she wants other teens to know it gets better too. She address young LGBT people by saying:
"If I had to speak to someone that was going through a problem in their life that feels too large to even deal with, the good news is: It will pass. You’ll get bumps and bruises. But if you stick through it, people forget. People forget and time goes on and hopefully you learn from it. Don’t stress. Learn how to deal with it now that you’re young. Openness is most important because it doesn’t matter what you see me as and you label me. It’s what I label myself [that matters]"
There are more and more out gay stars in the industry and let's hope that trend continues.
You can watch Raven's inspiring video for yourself below:
It's awesome to hear Raven being inspirational instead of putting her foot in her mouth with off the wall comments! Keep it up, girl!
Do you think there is too much pressure on child stars?