Actress and singer Alyson Stoner, who rose to fame through dancing in music videos and starring on the Disney Channel has come out in a beautifully moving and deeply vulnerable personal essay about falling in love with a woman. In her essay on Teen Vogue, Stoner talks about struggling to reconcile her sexuality with herself and with her religious beliefs. She writes about her struggles and her journey to self acceptance and loving herself as a woman who loves other women. Stoner doesn’t use any specific labels in her essay, but does say that she is “attracted to men, women and people who identify other ways” and that she’s currently in love with a woman.
Anyone who’s been a fan of hip-hop, dance or the Disney Channel over the last 18 years knows who Alyson Stoner is. She was Sally, the sister and co-host of Mike’s Super Short Show. She was the girl dancing in the Missy Elliot videos. She was In Suite Life and Phinneas and Pherb and a half dozen other Disney shows. She was Caitlyn in Camp Rock. She was Camille in two of the Step Up movies. Alyson Stoner was known for her sweet dance moves, bubbly and energetic personality and just a little bit of edge.
In the essay, Stoner describes seeing the woman that she fell in love with for the first time. “There she was, wearing loose jeans and a backward snapback. She flipped and rolled her body around with adventure and total abandon,” Stoner writes. “As a Type A perfectionist, I was mesmerized and intimidated.” After that first encounter, Stoner says she knew this woman would be a huge part of her life. They became very close friends, then Stoner says they moved on to kissing and then onto being in love. However, Stoner was internally struggling. Her faith was important to her and she had grown up believing being gay was a sin. Like many others who grow up in Christian churches, she tried to find ways to explain away her feelings.
My faith at that time played a large role in every aspect of my life, and my worldview neither supported nor accepted same-sex relationships. I prayed in turmoil nightly, begging to be healed from these desires. Certain pastors and community members tried to reverse and eliminate my attraction to her. I pursued physical relationships with men to convince myself that my love for her was just a spiritual battle attacking my character and discernment. I pored over texts, contemporary and ancient, seeking truth and answers from professors, scientists, church leaders, friends, and family.
Being one’s self can only be hidden for so long, and soon, Stoner found herself praying to God, begging for forgiveness because she knew that she had to be herself even though in her mind, that meant going to Hell. But when she did that, Stoner says she “felt an inexplicable embrace. Slowly, a curiosity set in, as if giving up might actually be the impetus needed to see life, God, love, humanity, and (literally) everything in a new way.”
Alyson Stoner has gone through an extremely difficult, and far too common journey to self acceptance. And by sharing it in such an open and beautiful way, she’s going to be helping so many people who will come out after her. Thank you Alyson for sharing your experiences with us, this means the world. Congratulations on finding happiness and love, and welcome to the family.
I’m far too thrilled by this news. Anyone who loves dance videos should definitely check out Alyson’s choreography to Love on the Brain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MsXwbZvE58
Over the weekend, I was thinking about how much my faith & views on religion have shifted. It was perfect alignment that I stumbled across her essay! I related so deeply with how Alyson described her internal struggles.
on another note: I’m so happy to see that many of the Disney folx I saw on TV growing up are out ?
^^^ same! it makes me feel like younger me was less alone than i thought, you know?
I’m wondering who these people were who cautioned her not to come out because she pretty much grew up in the dance world and we know that community is full of out homosexuals. I’m going to assume that advice probably came from the acting side of the business, an agent or manager, as well as the church obviously.
I trained as a dancer in the UK and from my experience it was very easy for guys to be out and proud, but not so easy for lesbians and bi people. I hope that is changing now, but I spent all of my teens and twenties in the closet due to these experiences.
I audibly gasped at this headline. My childhood dreams come true!! I had SUCH a thing for her when I was growing up watching Disney Channel.
I see such stories and I cry. Thanks to her for writing this. We all can relate. And most importantly, I’m thankful we are in a country and community where one can come out and tell their stories. Because in times like this I think about the millions of people in other countries where same sex relationship is a crime or prohibited and they will never be able to come out or live in an open relationship with who they love. And I hope one day, they can get to share in this joy that we all do.
Love is a beautiful thing.
I’m really sad I grew up before Disney Channel. I feel like I missed out on stuff.
I loved her to in cheaper by the dozen, Camp Rock and Step Up, but the scene where Hilary’s character changed her appearance to be ‘pretty’ and ‘girly’ for the date with the boy ruined the movie for me. I was okay with Sarah going on a date with a boy, but why did she have to change herself for that. Anyway, good for Alyson that she is able to live her truth and came out. I wish her hapiness