Alyson Stoner, a former Disney Channel and movie star, has penned a very personal and extremely powerful essay for Teen Vogue.
Titled "How I Embraced My Sexual Identity," the piece chronicles Stoner's journey to bisexuality, although we should note that Stoner never used this term.
In the essay, the 24-year old never puts any sort of label or definition on this path or on her conclusion, simply writing that she realizes she's now attracted to men and women.
The revelation of her preferences started when Stoner found herself “mesmerized and intimidated” upon attending a dance workshop and meeting her female instructor.
"After I dizzied myself from doing knee spins, she walked toward me to correct my form,” Stoner writes for Teen Vogue, adding:
“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."
Following this class, Stoner texted her mom, to whom she is very close. This is what the text read at the time:
“I met a woman today, I’m not sure who she is or what I’m feeling, but I think she’s going to be in my life for a very long time."
Stoner has appeared in movies such as Step Up and Cheaper by the Dozen, along with Disney shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
As actress-turned-singer got to know the dance instructor better, she struggled with her feelings that weren’t “quite sisterly or platonic.”
She was confused.
"I realized I had never fantasized about a guy this way, nor really ever felt comfortable dating guys,” she explains, elaborating as follows:
“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."
Still, despite not being sure what was going on, Stoner and this other woman began spending a great deal of time together.
One evening, the pair made dinner and watched Orange is the New Black together and...
"We vented and supported each other. Then cuddled. Then kissed and kissed some more."
This is when Stoner realized:
"OK, we were in a relationship. I fell in love with a woman."
It's unclear at what age this happened, but Stoner admits to attending therapy for years in order to figure herself out.
'In its purest sense, I felt awakened, more compassionate and like my truest self,” she writes.
“She strengthened and inspired me, creating a space for me to discover myself without judgment. We were an example of true love."
Stoner had "misconceptions" about the LGBT community, she says, adding that she wondered how this personal revelation would affect her job.
'Some people in the industry warned me that I’d ruin my career, miss out on possible jobs, and potentially put my life in danger if I ever came out.
'My dream and all I’d worked tirelessly for since the age of 6 was suddenly at risk by my being . . . true to myself."
She prayed on it. She battled internally.
But, in the end, she could no longer deny how she felt and what she believes.
"I, Alyson, am attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways,” she concludes.
“I can love people of every gender identity and expression. It is the soul that captivates me.
"It is the love we can build and the goodness we can contribute to the world by supporting each other’s best journeys."
So well said all around.
We salute you, Alyson Stoner.