Miley Cyrus sheds light on gender identity

by Kari Barnick

barnickka@mnstate.edu

Miley Cyrus recently came out as pansexual. But what does that even mean? Does she have a weird fetish for pans?

As someone who identifies as pansexual when labels are needed (although I prefer not to use any) I can ensure you it doesn’t mean a fetish for pans or any other kitchen supplies.

However, what it most commonly means is to like or be attracted to people of all sexualities and gender identities. As for me, I explain it as this: I like people based on if I “vibe” with them. It doesn’t matter to me what genitalia you may or may not have, but instead I seek a deep personal connection with a person.

I’m a firm believer in “love is love” and you should be able to express it with whoever you like, as long as both parties are consenting.

Miley Cyrus does a great job of backing this idea up and advocating for “free love.” She’s a huge media icon and she’s using that power to get the word out about sexuality and gender. Specifically, she personally identifies and advocates for pansexuality and gender fluidity to audiences who might not understand or have heard of the terms before.

Being gender fluid most commonly means one doesn’t identify with the binary of choosing just “boy” or just “girl.” MSUM student Desi shared her personal story of gender fluidity like this: “Gender fluidity isn’t just an identity, it’s just who I am. Sometimes I identify as male, sometimes as female, sometimes both, and sometimes neither, and sometimes I fall on the road in between all areas of the spectrum of gender.”

Miley Cyrus has also been seen playing an active role in transgender awareness. She started an organization, Happy Hippie Foundation, which benefits homeless LGBT youth, specifically trans individuals, who are more likely to be homeless than any other LGBT person.

Critics have said harsh words about Miley Cyrus, including the LGBTQIA community, and posed questions about her being white-washed and problematic. I understand the argument against her, but any positive type of awareness about sexuality and gender identity are too important to be ignored and heavily criticized. Although she might have some flaws and problematic behavior, I believe the good outweighs the bad.

Miley Cyrus, along with many others, is now paving a road in the media that’s often left silent. Pop culture has a huge following of audiences in all spectrums of age, gender, sexuality, race and class, which means it’s the perfect outlet to get a message across, especially one that’s often oppressed and looked down on.

With this week being National Coming Out Week, the message of self-love and acceptance is so important. Whether you like Miley Cyrus or not, you have to admit that she’s proud of herself and focuses on self-love. That, in itself, is something to admire. Miley only represents two forms of sexuality and gender identity, but it’s important to note that there are so many different sexualities and genders. They’re both vast, diverse spectrums and no matter where you fall on them, you should always love yourself for who you are.

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