Disney Channel star Alyson Stoner comes out in emotional essay

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Disney Channel star Alyson Stoner got candid about her sexuality in an essay penned for Teen Vogue on Saturday.

Stoner, known for her roles on “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “Cheaper by the Dozen,” described meeting and falling in love with a woman in an essay titled “How I embraced my sexual idenyity.”

“After I dizzied myself from doing knee spins, she walked toward me to correct my form,” the 24-year-old writes. “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.”

She recalls telling her mother and best friend that she felt something for the instructor but wasn’t sure what was going on. Later, Stoner and the woman started a relationship.

“I fell in love with a woman,” Stoner says.

“In its purest sense, I felt awakened, more compassionate and like my truest self,” Stoner continued. “She strengthened and inspired me, creating a space for me to discover myself without judgment. We were an example of true love,” Stoner adds about their relationship.

The star says she struggled with understanding her identity and hoped she wasn’t gay.

“I had internalized some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities. At the time, I thought… 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,” she writes. “Maybe I actually want to be her, and I’m mistaking idolization for romance. Anything besides being gay, please!”

Stoner continued that people in the industry encouraged her not to come out because it would hurt her career. However, Stoner decided to be open about her sexuality and, while she did not label herself, she explained that she is attracted to “men, women, and people who identify in other ways.”

“I can love people of every gender identity and expression. It is the soul that captivates me,” Stoner writes. “It is the love we can build and the goodness we can contribute to the world by supporting each other’s best journeys.”

Image is screenshot courtesy of YouTube

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