In an open and honest essay, former Disney Channel star Alyson Stoner has come out as gay and discussed the struggles she went through while confronting her identity.
The actress, singer and dancer, who is best known for her roles in ‘Cheaper By The Dozen 2’, ‘Mike’s Super Short Show’ and ‘Camp Rock’, tells the story of how she fell in love with a woman she met at a dance workshop to Teen Vogue.
“I spent years—not months or weeks or days, but years—trying to identify the source of my attraction to her,” she writes.
“Like many, I had internalised some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities. At the time, I thought, Maybe it’s because I moved away from my father as a child and didn’t have typical male guidance in my life.”
Stoner questions if her interest in women was simply societal conditioning, or lust.
“I stared at women’s bodies more than anything,” she wrote. “But wasn’t that just societal conditioning or the unattainable beauty standards that fuel comparison and objectification? I refused to entertain other possibilities.”
The actress even turned to her faith to try and stifle the feelings she was having. “Certain pastors and community members tried to reverse and eliminate my attraction to her,” she says. “I pursued physical relationships with men to convince myself that my love for her was just a spiritual battle attacking my character and discernment.”
Stoner says it was only when she decided to accept who she was that she gave in to her sexuality, despite the consequences.
“‘If by being honest I get banished to hell, so be it. I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry,’” she continues. “Right then I expected absolute emptiness, the height of despair and the lowest point in my life. I instead felt an inexplicable embrace.
“Slowly, a curiosity set in, as if giving up might actually be the impetus needed to see life, God, love, humanity, and (literally) everything in a new way. I’m not talking about believing whatever I felt like; rather, I felt a transformation, an ascension, an approach to life rooted in real love.”
Giggling at press finding stereotypically “masculine” outfits I’ve worn to affirm that I date women. I‘m not offended, all versions are me, but gender expression & identity are different.
I can wear this and still like women. And men. And people who identify in other ways. pic.twitter.com/yV0K1v7y72
— Alyson Stoner (@AlysonStoner) April 2, 2018
The essay comes as Stoner releases her single ‘When It’s Right’, which is about the relationship. She ends her essay by saying: “As ‘When It’s Right’ describes, it’s right when it’s right — and who it’s right with. She messed up everything in the best way possible, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
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