This actress came out as bisexual 2 years ago. Here's why she's coming out as gay now.
Amandla Stenberg, star of "The Hunger Games" and "Everything, Everything," first came out as bisexual in 2016.
During her takeover of Teen Vogue's Snapchat channel, the star spoke about why it's important to be open about her sexuality and the pain that comes from remaining quiet.
"We cannot be suppressed," she said. "We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears and be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow. Here I am being myself and it's definitely hard and vulnerable, and it's definitely a process, but I'm learning and I'm growing."
At a time when being part of the LGBTQ community can still affect one's career potential in Hollywood, Stenberg's coming out was a powerful message that being yourself must come first.
In a new interview with Wonderland magazine, Stenberg came out again this year, this time as a gay woman.
"Yep, I'm gay," she said proudly at the very start of the interview. Throughout the Q and A, she opened up about the "profound sense of relief" that came with realizing her romantic love for women and finding self-acceptance in her evolving sexuality.
It's not an easy process. Sexuality is usually taught in black-and-white terms: You're either straight, gay, or bi, and that's pretty much it.
But that isn't quite right. Not only are there many more types of sexual orientations, but sexuality can also be fluid, changing with time and discovery. Stenberg's experience reflects this.
One of the most exciting details of Stenberg's coming out story is that it was a journey fraught with hardship — but also joy.
In fact, when asked about her "gay sob" moment (a phenomenon in which one is racked with emotion after reaching clarity about their sexual orientation), Stenberg says that she was overwhelmed rather than devastated when she realized she was gay:
"I was flooded with a sense of calm and peace because everything that I struggled with or felt discomfort around finally made sense to me, and once those floodgates opened and years of pent up pain and shame were released, I found the freedom to live my best life waiting for me just underneath."
The joy Stenberg feels is exactly why everyone should be encouraged to explore their sexuality.
Instead of trying to fit into the boxes that have been created for us — and which many feel obligated to step into — it's more important than ever that we live for ourselves and love who we love.
Stenberg's coming out is an important step in the path to progress. May all of us find the courage to live so joyously and so out loud.