Amandla Stenberg, who has appeared in films including The Hunger Games and Everything, Everything, has come out as gay during LGBT Pride month.
In an interview with Wonderland, the star of the upcoming drama The Hate U Give shares that it’s a relief to be able to accept herself for who she truly is.
“I was so overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realized that I’m gay—not bi, not pan, but gay—with a romantic love for women,” she said. “All of the things that felt so internally contrary to my truest self were rectified as I unraveled a long web of denial and self-deprivation.”
Stenberg continued, “Like, oh, maybe there’s a reason why I kissed my best friends and felt ashamed growing up. Or watched lesbian porn and masturbated (and more) with my friends at sleepovers. Or stifled a scream of horror the first time I saw a penis and had to convince myself with much internal strife that I was enjoying what was going down. Or could only find attraction toward gay men and femme boys who damn near had the sensibility of a woman. Or developed earth-shattering, all-consuming crushes on… GIRLS!”
The 19-year-old went on to share her appreciation for being a member of the LGBT community.
“I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way,” she told the publication. “The continual process of unlearning heteronormativity and internalized homophobia can be difficult, but one of the biggest blessings lies in the magic that comes from having to understand love outside the confines of learned heterosexual roles. It is the power to reveal the ethereal love that exists within us underneath socialization. Once I was able to rid myself of those parameters, I found myself in a deep well of unbounded and untouchable love free from the dominion of patriarchy. My sexuality is not a byproduct of my past experiences with men, who I have loved, but rather a part of myself I was born with and love deeply.”
Stenberg also took to Instagram to share images from the accompanying photo shoot. Check them out below.
🏳️🌈✨ OUT & PROUD. ✨🏳️🌈 So happy to say the words Yep, I’m Gay in official print. Interviewed for @wonderland by someone I stan infinitely – the fiercest garbagio pop queen @kingprincess69. Thank you to KP for providing me with such a safe space to come out. We talk about gay sobbing, first encounters with lesbian masturbation, queer icons, Toni Morrison, disillusionment as a critical step, the art I’ve been working on, and the films that I have coming out this year. Full interview on newsstands now and available online Monday. 😁🎉
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.