In a recent interview with Wonderland Magazine, actress Amandla Stenberg shed light on their sexuality, coming out as gay.
Stenberg is well-known for starring in films such as The Hunger Games and Everything, Everything, as well as being cast in the highly anticipated adaption of The Hate U Give. In a previous interview with People Magazine, Stenberg had also opened up about their gender identity, explaining that they “don’t necessarily always prescribe to female pronouns”.
In the Wonderland interview, Stenberg described the revelation of realizing they were gay as a “profound sense of relief” that allowed them to come to terms with their “truest self.” They also explored what this realization of sexuality meant to them and how rewarding it was to break free from the heteronormative confines that society so often places on us:
“I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way. The continual process of unlearning heteronormativity and internalised homophobia can be difficult, but one of the biggest blessings lies in the magic that comes from having to understand love outside the confines of learned heterosexual roles.”
Stenberg also cited Mila Kunis, as one of their first lesbian crushes, along with Mirage from The Incredibles and Kristina Vidal from Freaky Friday.
They go on to discuss representation, particularly of people of color and the LGBT, in the media, and how a lack of representation can be damaging because people who aren’t necessarily straight, cis-gender or white may find it difficult to relate to characters they cannot truly see themselves in. Stenberg believes that:
“Had I had more representations of black gay women growing up I probably would’ve come to conclusions around my sexuality much earlier because I would’ve had more of a conception of what was possible and okay.”
Thankfully, the media is becoming more progressive and inclusive, and discussion of the LGBT community is no longer being pushed under the rug — especially with the force of the internet and its donning of 2018 with the nickname “twenty-gay-teen.” 20th Century Fox recently made history with the film Love, Simon: a heart-warming romance focusing centrally on a gay character and his coming out. Marvel Studios also recently included the first explicitly open LGBT couple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio in Deadpool 2.