15 Queer Women Whose Fearlessness In 2016 Gives Us Hope For 2017

Already looking ahead to 2017?

Here are some wise and empowering words offered by some of our favorite queer women in 2016 to give you hope for humanity in the new year. Based on what we’re already seeing, we’re going to need them.

  • Kristen Stewart

    Stewart got vocal about her sexuality in 2016. The actress said she is “so much happier” dating women in the public eye, years after having her heterosexual relationships scrutinized.

    It changed when I started dating a girl, she told Elle UK. I was like, Actually, to hide this provides the implication that Im not down with it or Im ashamed of it, so I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and Im so much happier.

  • Sara Ramirez
    Justin Baker via Getty Images

    The “Grey’s Anatomy” star came out as bi ahead of 2016’s National Coming Out Day in a speech addressing homeless LGBT youth in October.

    “[B]ecause of the intersections that exist in my own life: Woman, multi-racial woman, woman of color, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American, immigrant, and raised by families heavily rooted in Catholicism on both my Mexican and Irish sides, I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youths voices to be heard, and that support our youth in owning their own complex narratives so that we can show up for them in the ways they need us to.

  • Sarah Paulson
    Amanda Edwards via Getty Images

    While she has not publicity identified with a label, Paulson waxed poetic about her “surreal” romance with Holland Taylor, who is 32 years her senior.

    Theres a poignancy to being with someone older, she said. I think theres a greater appreciation of time and what you have together and whats important, and it can make the little things seem very small. It puts a kind of sharp light mixed with a sort of diffused light on something. I cant say it any other way than theres a poignancy to it, and a heightened sense of time and the value of time. What I can say absolutely is that I am in love, and that person happens to be Holland Taylor.

    (Ugh <3.)

  • Amandla Stenberg
    Emma McIntyre via Getty Images

    Stenberg, 18, said she identifies as a “black, bisexual woman” in a January Snapchat takeover for Teen Vogue about being silenced and having to fight for your own identity.

    As someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman, Ive been through it, and it hurts, and its awkward and its uncomfortable but then I realized because of Solange and Ava DuVernay and Willow and all the black girls watching this right now, that theres absolutely nothing to change, she said.Im sick of all the misogyny and homophobia and transphobia I see around me. And I know you are, too.

  • Aubrey Plaza
    Theo Wargo via Getty Images

    The actress opened up about her sexuality in a July interview with the Advocate, saying: “I know I have an androgynous thing going on, and theres something masculine about my energy. Girls are into me thats no secret. Hey, Im into them, too. I fall in love with girls and guys. I cant help it.

  • Stephanie Beatriz
    Phillip Faraone via Getty Images

    The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star talked about what it meant comingout publicly this year as a bisexual woman of color— in response to Aubrey Plaza’s remarks — in an After Ellen interview.

    “That was really the dopest was all of the women that sort of tweeted back at me and said, ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I feel so alone; I feel weird; I feel crazy inside. Thanks for saying that Im not.’ No, baby, youre not! Youre normal. As normal as any of us are.”

  • Bex Taylor-Klaus
    Jason LaVeris via Getty Images

    The “Scream” actress came out as gay in November, due in part to Donald Trump’s election and the hatred that followed.

    “Part of why Im coming out is because theres so much hate and fear in and around the LGBT community right now and its important for us not to halt progress out of fear,” she said on YouNow. “Yes, its a scary time, but we need to stand up and say, even if you are afraid, Im not afraid, or even if I am afraid, Im strong. I am who I am and you cant take that away from me.

  • Evan Rachel Wood

    The “Westworld” star sought to speak out against the “negative connotations” assocaited with bisexuality in a July interview with Time’s Motto.

    “I think because were usually erased, people just dont have the information. Theres so many negative connotations with that label. I understand the argument about labels and the desire to do away with them altogether. I think thats a great idea. But before that we have to give people a chance to identify with somebody or a group in some way. That helped me Erasure is causing people harm and diminishing self-esteem and putting people in harms way. Its a real need. I want people to know that its ok, [bisexuality] is valid and their stories matter.”

  • Mara Wilson
    Suzi Pratt via Getty Images

    The “Matilda” star spoke publicly about her sexuality in the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Orlando LGBT nightclub Pulse in June. She said the “LGBTQ community has always felt like home” and that she currently self-identifies as bi/queer.

  • Samira Wiley
    VALERIE MACON via Getty Images

    “Orange Is The New Black” actress Samira Wiley got engaged this yearto partner writer Lauren Morelli. She announced the news with one simple word: “Yes.”

  • Rowan Blanchard
    Jennifer Lourie via Getty Images

    Disney’s15-year-old “Girl Meets World” star identified as queeron Twitter back in January, saying that while she has only ever liked boys, she is “open to liking any gender in future” and does not want to associate with one label. Wise beyond her years, for sure.

  • Miley Cyrus

    Long an LGBTQ activist, in an October interview with Variety, Cyrus revealed the moment she realized she identified as pansexual:

    “I think when I figured out what it was. I went to the LGBTQ center here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories. I saw one human in particular who didnt identify as male or female. Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life. Even though I may seem very different, people may not see me as neutral as I feel. But I feel very neutral. I think that was the first gender-neutral person Id ever met. Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, ‘Oh thats why I dont feel straight and I dont feel gay. Its because Im not.'”

  • Bella Thorne
    Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

    The 19-year-old Disney Channel star came out as bisexual in August, after sharing a Snapchat of her kissing her brother’s ex-girlfriend. She tweeted her thanks to fans for their “accepting” response along with the hashtag #pride.

  • Clea DuVall
    Matthew Eisman via Getty Images

    Representation matters.

    Ive played a lot of gay characters, but I havent really played a gay character that is gay in a way that is the gay that I feel like I am, if that makes sense, DuVall told the Advocate in June.”I really identify with the feeling of being ‘other.’ And those are the characters that Im really drawn towards, because I just think theyre more complicated and theyre more interesting.”

  • Halsey

    Halsey is a biracial, bisexual and bipolarartist who is a serious hit-maker (yes, “Closer” was stuck in our heads all year, too) and unapologetically sex-positive.

    I started off the bat as a very sexual artist. I wasnt like a Disney kid-turned-bad girl. America didnt have to let go of their sweetheart, she told Nylon for their June/July cover story. A lot of it is just trying to be a sexual person in a way that I think is healthy, honest, celebratory, encouraging, and unapologetic. People will say, Halseys pretending to be bisexual to get more album sales. Im like, wow, goddamn, it is incredible that we live in a fucking year where being queer helps you sell records. Like, thats a pretty wild development in the music industry.

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