Disney star Alyson Stoner just shared an emotional essay about her sexuality
Questioning your sexuality is a part of growing up that most people go through, but it's not always easy. Trying to figure out exactly who you are, as well as trying to ace your exams, find a good job, have a decent social life, drink enough water, text everyone back and maintain your sanity is certainly no mean feat. But one thing that is likely to make this even more difficult is being a Disney star.
Growing up in the public eye means that when you figure out who you want to be, you not only have to tell your family and friends, you're forced to explain yourself to the entire world. However, Disney star Alyson Stoner completely nailed it when she recently opened up about her sexuality, penning a powerful essay in Teen Vogue.
In the moving article, the Cheaper by the Dozen actress - whose new single, When It's Right, dropped on Friday - wrote emotionally about falling in love with a woman for the first time and discussed how she came to terms with it.
The 24-year-old claims that she first became attracted to a woman when she attended a trial dance workshop and met the instructor. She wrote:
"I was running late and tiptoed to the back as everyone drilled the first move. I skimmed the room to find the instructor. There she was, wearing loose jeans and a backward snapback. She flipped and rolled her body around with adventure and total abandon. As a Type A perfectionist, I was mesmerized and intimidated. After I dizzied myself from doing knee spins. She walked toward me to correct my form. My heart raced wildly and my body grew hot. Was I nervous to fail in front of an expert? Was I breathing heavily from being out of shape? Her smile was the most electrifying thing I’d ever seen."
The former The Suite Life of Zack and Cody star continues to tell readers that she knew that her feelings definitely weren't "sisterly or platonic."
“I realized I had never fantasized about a guy this way, nor really ever felt comfortable dating guys,” she wrote. “Come to think of it, I stared at women’s bodies more than anything. But wasn’t that just societal conditioning or the unattainable beauty standards that fuel comparison and objectification? I refused to entertain other possibilities. She and I continued to hang out and began sending good morning texts. Then we made dinner and watched Orange Is the New Black. Then we vented and supported each other. Then cuddled. Then kissed and kissed some more.” “OK, we were in a relationship. I fell in love with a woman."
Tragically, the Step Up star did not accept her sexual preferences at the time, and put herself through years of emotional turmoil and therapy trying to figure out the source of her attraction. In an emotional part of the essay, Stoner admits that she wasn't ready to define herself as homosexual and attempted to find an excuse for her feelings, fearing that she would ruin her career if she came out as gay.
"Like many, I had internalized some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities," she wrote. "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. Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced abuse from men and therefore I’m scared of intimacy with them (and in general). Maybe it’s because open sexuality is prevalent in my artistic community and I subconsciously just want to fit in. Maybe I actually want to be her, and I’m mistaking idolization for romance. Anything besides being gay, please!"
Thankfully though, Stoner was eventually able to find the courage to admit who she really was to herself, saying that her relationship with the dance instructor made her feel like her "truest self". While the actress does not label her sexuality, she writes that she is now attracted to men, women, and people who don't define themselves in those terms.
Well done to Alyson for opening up about her struggles and learning to accept herself the way she is. Her courage is truly inspiring. We wish her the best of luck with her new single.