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Although raised a Christian, Miley Cyrus quits church because gay friends are not accepted. In a 2015 interview, Cyrus confirmed she was not tied to any one person or gender but is pansexual and single. The singer loved spending time with different people but was not ready to identify a significant other just yet. She also explained that she went on dates but did not relate to female or male and refused to put those stipulations on any potential partners.
Pansexuality is an emotional or sexual attraction toward people of no particular sex or gender identity. Often pansexuals, also called omnisexuals, refer to themselves as gender-blind or attracted to all genders because a person’s sex is irrelevant when determining if there is an attraction. The VMA host established herself as a gender activist whose mission is to make sexual and gender identities less fixed and society more tolerant of love in itself. Cyrus, who came out as a bisexual at age 14, said:
I do not need to have my partner relate to a boy or girl. I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting, of age and does not involve an animal. If it is legal, I am down with it – anyone over 18 who is down to love me. As long as you are not hurting anyone, your choices are your choices.
Although the term pansexual is relatively new to those not a part of the LGBTQ community, it has a flag with its own colors to increase recognition and visibility for the pansexual community. The Pansexual Pride Flag has three horizontal bars of blue, yellow and pink; each color represents different spectrums such as male, female and non-binary. Pansexual comes from the word pansexualism, which dates to 1917. At the time, the term was a concept which described the universal influence of sexual instinct in all human activity. Often credited to Sigmund Freud, it originally meant “the pervasion of all conduct and experience with sexual emotions.” A former LGBT youth worker said:
During my time pansexual was not even on the plate, Non-Binary just meant ‘you are confused.’ So I congratulate the evolution of terminology but I am still scratching my head over pansexual. I struggled long and hard to get equal rights just for gays, lesbians, and transsexuals as a part of the media. So, hey…if pans and non-binaries are now in the code too…Welcome aboard!
The “Wrecking Ball” singer has always been vocal about her sexuality and admitted her mother was very concerned when she first learned of Cyrus’s lack of preference. According to Cyrus, it was difficult for her mother to understand that she loves women just as she does boys. Initially, the singer’s mother worried Miley would go to hell but now accepts her daughter as she is.
The songwriter said she stopped attending church because her gay friends were not accepted and, instead, were forced to undergo conversion therapy. Conversion therapy refers to the debunked practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts, drug abuse and depression among LGBTQ teens. The practice has been condemned by major medical associations, like the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association, and outlawed by 20 states, including Virginia, which became the first Southern state to prohibit conversion therapy this month.
Many Christian denominations do not recognize gender transition. Within Christianity, there are a variety of views on the issues of gender identity and transgender people. The many Christian denominations vary in their position, ranging from condemning transgender acts as sinful to remaining divided on the issue, to seeing it as morally acceptable. Even within a denomination, individuals and groups may hold different views. Furthermore, not all members of a denomination necessarily support their church’s views on transgender identities.
Jesus taught his disciples to be skeptical of the wealthy, the powerful and the religious of the day. He taught them to look beyond, to rethink their ideas of who belongs and to recognize, to truly see those on the margins. His radical challenge is for every generation. Regardless, of any church’s stance on the LGBTQ community at large, one thing is sure – Jesus loves everyone and has commanded his followers to do the same.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
NBC News: Miley Cyrus quit church because gay friends ‘weren’t being accepted’
Huffington Post: Christian Attitudes to Transgender People Are Changing
Top Image Courtesy of Miley Cyrus’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Luke Rauscher’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Sean Davis’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License