This is Alyson Stoner. She's an actress, singer, and dancer.
You might recognize her from Missy Elliott's early 2000's videos, the Step Up movies, and the Cheaper by the Dozen flicks.
And in a recent essay titled "How I Embraced My Sexual Identity" for Teen Vogue, Alyson writes about falling in love with a female dance instructor. It's honestly really, really beautiful.
"She walked toward me to correct my form. 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."
... The question of whether she was a cool new friend or more kept me awake in wonderment and dread. I tried to be patient and stifle the emotions so I could think objectively. Our bond didn't feel quite sisterly or platonic. Flashes of her smile progressed to flashes of her wavy hair followed by the curve of her hips through her straight-leg pants. I realized I had never fantasized about a guy this way, nor really ever felt comfortable dating guys. Come to think of it, I stared at women’s bodies more than anything. But wasn’t that just societal conditioning or the unattainable beauty standards that fuel comparison and objectification? I refused to entertain other possibilities.
She and I continued to hang out and began sending good morning texts. Then we made dinner and watched Orange Is the New Black. Then we vented and supported each other. Then cuddled. Then kissed and kissed some more. OK, we were in a relationship. I fell in love with a woman.
Alyson then spoke about how she ended up spending years in therapy, and about how "certain pastors and community members tried to reverse and eliminate" the attraction.
Alyson eventually came to a breaking point, but ultimately finding peace with herself, asking people to "feel what I feel on a human level, to appreciate the beauty of someone diving into the unknown in pursuit of love and truth. I’m asking you to accept me as I accept myself."
I, Alyson, am 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. It is the love we can build and the goodness we can contribute to the world by supporting each other’s best journeys.