In June of 2015, Miley Cyrus got candid about gender and sexuality in an interview for Paper magazine, in which she made the powerful comment: “I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.”
At the time, Cyrus admitted to having relationships with women and men (you may also remember she was linked to model Stella Maxwell around the time of this interview), and now, she’s opening up about her very first relationship — which happened to be with, as Cyrus puts it, a “chick.”
“My whole life, I didn’t understand my own gender and my own sexuality,” she said in an interview with Variety for their Power of Women issue. “I always hated the word ‘bisexual,’ because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl. Also, my nipple pasties and shit never felt sexualized to me. My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick.”
But this wasn’t something that she could easily speak about, or even understand, as she reveals: “I grew up in a very religious Southern family. The universe has always given me the power to know I’ll be OK. Even at that time, when my parents didn’t understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand.”
In recent years, Cyrus has become very involved with the LGBT community, and launched the Happy Hippie Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting at-risk LGBT and homeless youth. She also claims that it was a visit to the LGBT center in Los Angeles, California, that helped her realize that she identifies as pansexual.
“I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female. Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life,” Cyrus said of her experience at the center. “Even though I may seem very different, people may not see me as neutral as I feel. But I feel very neutral. I think that was the first gender-neutral person I’d ever met. Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, ‘Oh — that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.'”
For years, Cyrus has been misunderstood, and her bravado as well as her latex or near-nude outfits only furthered that confusion, but beneath it all lies a very intelligent, strong woman who is not afraid to speak out about her personal experiences, as well as serious issues that need addressing. And for that (and many other reasons) we’re glad that Cyrus is famous and has been given this platform to raise awareness.
Like we stated earlier, it’s basically impossible not to become a Miley Cyrus fan after reading this interview.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.