5 Young Celebs Who Won’t Be Defined by Strict Notions of Sexuality
Nearly a third of young people say their sexuality falls somewhere between homosexual and heterosexual, reflecting a new openness about what’s been dubbed "fluid sexuality"—which is also getting lip service from a slew of young celebrities when describing the nature of their attractions.
In a recent survey, when given a choice of whether they were straight, gay, or bisexual, 84 percent of people between 18 and 29 identified as heterosexuals, 10 percent said they were bisexual, and 2 percent said they were homosexual. The remainder declined to identify.
Yet when the polling website YouGov’s researchers asked the same group a slightly more detailed question, a large proportion of millennials fell somewhere between strictly heterosexual or homosexual. The query asked respondents to rate themselves on the Kinsey scale—a numbered sexuality spectrum ranging from exclusively heterosexual, 0, to exclusively homosexual, 6. In response, 31 percent of young U.S. residents rated themselves with numbers other than 0 or 6, putting them on the spectrum of bisexuality.
By comparison, 24 percent of respondents between 30 and 44 identified somewhere in the sexually fluid range. Older generations were less likely to identify with anything other than gay or straight, with only 8 percent of 45- to 64-year-olds and 7 percent of senior citizens reporting sexuality outside strict homosexuality or heterosexuality. Surveyers spoke to 1,000 U.S. residents earlier this month.
The findings point to a long-standing taboo around bisexuality. Gay and lesbian people are more likely to come out to their family and friends than bisexuals are; more than 70 percent of lesbians and gays said they had told the most important people in their lives about their sexuality, compared with 28 percent of bisexuals, according to a 2013 Pew study. Bisexuals reported reluctance to tell those closest to them out of fear of criticism, or misunderstanding—myths around bisexuals include notions that they are just promiscuous or in a phase.
Here are five young celebrities who are pushing back against that sort of stigma and are openly joining one-third of millennials in identifying as sexually fluid.
1. Lily-Rose Depp
The most recent star to identify publicly as sexually fluid is Johnny Depp’s daughter, 16-year-old Lily-Rose, through an Instagram photo released on Monday by Self Evident Truths, an art project that seeks to destigmatize the spectrum of sexuality. Artist iO Tillett Wright plans to take the pictures of 10,000 Americans who identify as less than 100 percent heterosexual and install the portraits on the Washington Memorial lawn in 2016.
Wright, a self-described “tomboyish girl who liked boys and girls depending on the person,” said the project doesn’t erase differences. Instead “it presents not just the complexities found in a procession of different human beings, but the complexities found within each individual person.”
Too young to fall into the millennial age group, Depp represents an even younger generation that is openly comfortable with fluid sexuality.
2. Miley Cyrus
In early June, former Disney star and pop singer Miley Cyrus discussed her fluid sexuality with Paper magazine in a tell-all, bare-all interview.
“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,” the 22-year-old actor and singer said.
She also said she doesn't identify with one gender.
“I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl,” Cyrus added.
3. Cara Delevingne
Model and Paper Towns actor Cara Delevingne opened up about her sexuality and relationship with singer Annie Clark, otherwise known as St. Vincent, to Vogue in mid-June.
Though the 22-year-old said her erotic dreams only involve men, she finds herself drawn to women and can see herself falling in love with either. At the moment, she’s in love with her girlfriend.
“Being in love with my girlfriend is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days,” she told Vogue.
The article sparked a controversy when the author suggested her bisexuality might be a phase. Delevingne responded by telling The New York Times, “My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am.”
4. Ezra Miller
The 22-year-old actor, known for his roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and We Need to Talk About Kevin and more recently as the amorous intern in Trainwreck, came out as queer to Out in 2012—a term that Miller uses to define his sexuality. The word, once used as a slur, is being reborn as a term of pride for sexually fluid people.
“I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders,” the young star told Out, adding that he remembers fooling around with boys when he was young and then later feeling like a “confused queer adolescent.”
5. Kristen Stewart
In early August, the Twilight star and former girlfriend of Robert Pattinson talked about her fluid sexuality for the first time with Nylon magazine, though she didn’t feel making a public announcement was right for her.
“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,” the 25-year-old star told Nylon. “I don’t feel like it would be true for me to be like, ‘I’m coming out!’ ”
As for labeling one’s sexual preferences, that may soon be a thing of the past.
“I think in three or four years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don’t think it’s necessary to figure out if you’re gay or straight. It’s like, just do your thing,” Stewart told the magazine.