Dancer, singer and former Disney star Alyson Stoner has come out as a member of the LGBTI community.
She explained in a Teen Vogue essay she is attracted to ‘men, women, and people who identify in other ways.’
The essay comes in light of her latest single When It’s Right.
Stoner explains in the essay her new song describes that moment when she fell in love with a woman.
She writes: ‘If you’re questioning or struggling with your sexuality, gender identity, or anything else, know that I and so many who’ve gone before us are with you. Whatever your identity, you are lovable and wonderful and enough…
‘Find support, because we’re out there! And when you fall in love with anyone, you’ll know exactly what I felt for her. 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.’
Stoner appeared as a back up dancer for the likes of Missy Elliot and Will Smith when she was younger.
She was also a regularly cast member on Disney TV show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Stoner also appeared in Disney original movie Camp Rock alongside Demi Lovato.
‘Anything besides being gay, please!’
Fans have welcome the news, welcoming the performer to the LGBTI community.
However Stoner herself struggled with her sexuality to begin.
Stoner spent years ‘trying to identify the source of my attraction to her.’
She explains that like many, she had ‘internalized some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities.’
At first she believed maybe because ‘open sexuality is prevalent’ in the artistic community, she ‘subconsciously’ just wanted to fit in.
She also considered whether she actually just wanted to be the woman she was attracted to, and was ‘mistaking idolization for romance.’
In an attempt to rid herself of the thoughts, Stoner ‘pursued physical relationships with men.’
She would pray regularly and wrote about ‘certain pastors’ trying to ‘reverse and eliminate‘ her attraction to the woman.
The star continued: ‘I pored over texts, contemporary and ancient, seeking truth and answers from professors, scientists, church leaders, friends, and family.
‘I didn’t want to get this wrong. After all, not only was I trying to be a “good and upright” person, but I’m also a public figure with responsibility and extreme pressure.’
‘An approach to life rooted in real love’
Stoner added she had people in the industry warn her that coming out would ruin her career.
They said it meant she could miss out on job opportunities. And so, she fear the career she had been building since the age of six would be at risk ‘by my being true to myself.’
The woman who Stoner had fallen for supported her continuously though, offering her endless love.
Stoner started to realize she felt like her ‘truest self’ around her.
So she recalls the night she collapsed onto her bed in tears calling out ‘God, if I’m evil, then I accept this and give up.’
Since then, Stoner has experienced a ‘transformation’ and ‘an approach to life rooted in real love.’
The dancer explains she now understands what it is like to be forced into silence. She even ‘questioned whether life was worth living.’
Stoner finishes the essay by offering her love and support to those who are also questioning their sexuality.
She reassures them despite the challenges in the world ‘it’s OK. Dare to be yourself anyway.’