Rowan Blanchard Is Queer: 14-Year-Old “Girl Meets World” Actress Comes Out On Twitter

The future is bright, dear friends! On the heels of Amandla Stenberg powerfully, poetically coming out as bisexual on Teen Vogue‘s Snapchat last week, Rowan Blanchard came out as queer last night on Twitter. The 14-year-old actress is best known for her role as Riley Matthews on Disney Channel’s beloved Girl Meets World  — course Cory and Topanga’s daughter was going to be queer; of course she was! — but she’s also making a name for herself by penning remarkable essays on feminism. Like this one from Rookie Mag from just a few days ago, in which she refused to apologize for being a woman who won’t apologize for her existence:

My codependent relationship with self-blame and self-deprecation, as a means of self-defense has held me tightly since I can remember. It has felt safer and less terrifying to silence myself to a degree, than to actually engage with people, and make them take responsibility for their own actions. I have treated, specifically, male feelings and ego as superior to, and more fragile than my own. This practice dates back to elementary school, where it was first embedded in me and my female classmates, that our feelings, bodies, and minds would be used as weapons against us—mostly, but not exclusively—by our male peers.

No wonder Elle magazine named both her and Stenberg Feminist Celebrities of the Year.

On Girl Meets World, Blanchard’s character, Riley, has a rich and wonderful relationship with her best friend, Maya Hart. Speculation about whether or not Riley and Maya are more than friends takes up about 40 percent of all Tumblr’s server space, and it’s that relationship that prompted Blanchard to come out last night. One of her Twitter followers tweeted: BisexualRileyMatthews2k16. Blanchard respond: “would really be here for this! if not Riley- its vvv important to me, being queer, that there is representation on our show.”

UPDATE: Since posting her original tweet, Blanchard has updated Twitter to say that while she has only ever been attracted to boys, she doesn’t want to identify as straight or gay because she’s open to liking any gender identity in the future, which is what being queer means to her.

Blanchard co-sang the Girl Meets World theme song, has starred (and agreed to star) in a dozens of family-friendly film and TV projects, has spoken at the UN Women and US National Committee’s annual conference, and has now become the first Disney Channel star to come out as queer while still starring on an active Disney Channel show. The Disney Channel didn’t even feature a queer character until two years ago when Good Luck Charlie introduced a pair of lesbian moms as guest stars for a single episode, a decision that caused huge backlash among conservative viewers. Kind of drives home the point about the urgent necessity of all-ages queer representation, huh?

Stenberg and Blanchard make me feel so excited about the queer future of the world. Seriously: What a time to be alive!

You can follow Rown Blanchard on Twitter and Instagram, and watch Girl Meets World on Fridays on the Disney Channel.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 864 articles for us.

103 Comments

  1. I’ve seen a few episodes and it does have some of the charm of the old show(but for Disney viewers vs TGIF viewers). So, I do really do hope Disney does make her queer telling Disney viewers it’s okay to be queer and confused at that age.

    On a related note, but I am not 100% familiar with the last season of Boy Meets World, but since when did Corey have a younger college age brother? I know he had a younger sister(who was played by two different people), but not a brother. In fact what happened to his younger sister?

    • I also started to phase out during Boy Meets World: The College Years, but I’m pretty sure that his parents have a late in life “surprise!” pregnancy towards the very end.

      I don’t know if his mom actually gives birth that season or just ends the season pregnant, however. Someone else might be able to help clarify that last point.

    • Yeah towards the end of one of the last seasons corys mom does give birth to his youngest sibling, a brother. I don’t remember the details exactly but there were complications or something and there’s a scene where they go visit him in the hospital right after she gives birth, holding his wee infant hand through like an incubator type thing. I think this is also the season where Eric has taken on like a “little brother” kid through some community program who’s parents died or something and Eric grows to love the little guy and considers adopting him before realizing he is in no position to be a father. Touching season ! Lol

      Maj boy meets world fan back in tha day

      • Thank you to both. I stopped really watching the last season or two so that makes sense. But, then on the new show what happened to the sister, cause from the few episodes I saw(most were episodes that included the original cast) no mention. At least there is hope that Riley can be queer on the show.

    • It’s been announced that Cory’s sister will appear on GMW, though she hasn’t been mentioned yet. The very last episode of BMW shows Cory with his little brother, Joshua, in their back yard.

    • amy had a baby in the last year of bmw. that is now the college age kid who drops in now and then on gmw. as far as his sister goes no mention of her has been made yet on gmw. the original one who was the writers daughter i believe obviously grew up and didn’t want to be on the show. the second one is alson unavailable for unknow reason.

      • Yeah. I just saw that. Tumblr is apparently having a shit-fit over her misusing the word queer now because she’s said she only likes boys. I think it was fine to say she doesn’t want to label herself as anything. But queer IS a label so I think they are right to be a little upset about this. Especially since some of the younger fans are now confused because they don’t understand what those labels mean and are now saying she “took it back” and is straight again.

        • Yeah, queer is definitely a label and a somewhat controversial label at that (regardless of its long history in academia) so I get the fuss. If an adult had said that they had only ever been attracted to the opposite gender but considered themselves queer, I’d be annoyed. But she’s still just a kid! A bright, articulate kid, way ahead of where I was at her age, but still just a kid.

          • A youth and a teen, not a kid.

            The label shouldn’t be controversial. One derivation of quartz is queercleftearth, for its hrombohedra instead of parallelepipeda.

          • Meh. She’s still a kid to me. But fine, if you insist, we can use the term adolescent.

            And don’t be disingenuous about “queer.” The way the LGBTQ community uses it, it’s a reclaimed slur. It’s not on people who have only felt opposite-gender attractions to reclaim slurs, even if they avoid the actual label of “straight.” In the same vein, I don’t think it’s any man’s place to reclaim the word “bitch” and telling me that “bitch” is a legit name for a female dog isn’t going to change my mind.

          • I never said adolescent.

            A bitch is literally someone who bites or bickers. On the other hand, queer is literally the opposite of straiht, much like they say bent or genderbent. There were two 16th century adjectives originally with two spellings that became associated with each other:

            http://oed.com/view/Entry/156236
            queer, adj.1
            Etymology: Perhaps a borrowing from German. Etymons: German quer.
            Origin uncertain; perhaps < (or perhaps even cognate with) German quer transverse, oblique, crosswise, at right angles, obstructive, (of things) going wrong (now rare), (of a person) peculiar (now obsolete in this sense), (of a glance) directed sideways, especially in a surreptitious or hostile manner (now rare), (of opinion and behaviour) at odds with others (see thwart adv.), but the semantic correspondence is not exact, and the figurative senses in German are apparently much later developments than the English word.

            1.
            a. Strange, odd, peculiar, eccentric. Also: of questionable character; suspicious, dubious.
            ?a1513 W. Dunbar Flyting in Poems (1998) 207 Heir cumis our awin queir clerk.

            b. Sc. and Irish English. As an intensifier: = quare adj. 2.
            1865 G. R. Wynne Overton's Question 73 Aye, I'm a hignorant chap, as has never been to school, but I'm up to a queer lot of moves, and mother says I mayn't do bad.

            2. Out of sorts; unwell; faint, giddy. Formerly also (slang): †drunk (obs.).
            1749 M. Collyer Lett. Felicia to Charlotte II. xxxv. 132, I must confess that I was in a very queer situation of mind: I was far from being easy.

            3. colloq. (orig. U.S.). Of a person: homosexual. Hence: of or relating to homosexuals or homosexuality. Cf. earlier queer n.2 2.
            Although originally chiefly derogatory (and still widely considered offensive, esp. when used by heterosexual people), from the late 1980s it began to be used as a neutral or positive term (originally of self-reference, by some homosexuals; cf. Queer Nation n. and also quot. 19522 at queer n.2 2) in place of gay or homosexual, without regard to, or in implicit denial of, its negative connotations. In some academic contexts it is the preferred adjective in the study of issues relating to homosexuality (cf. queer theory n. at Special uses 2); it is also sometimes used of sexual lifestyles that do not conform to conventional heterosexual behaviour, such as bisexuality or transgenderism
            1914 Los Angeles Times 19 Nov. ii. 10/5 He said that the Ninety-six Club was the best; that it was composed of the ‘queer’ people… He said that the members sometimes spent hundreds of dollars on silk gowns, hosiery, etc…. At these ‘drags’ the ‘queer’ people have a good time.
            1915 in A. Bennet Jrnl. 26 Mar. (1933) 550 An immense reunion of art students, painters, and queer people. Girls in fancy male costume, queer dancing, etc.

            [The usage note claims the original was derogatory but its first two citations do not support that.]

            http://oed.com/view/Entry/156237
            queer, adj.2 and n.1
            Etymology: Of unknown origin.
            Origin unknown. The α. forms suggest that this was originally a different word from queer adj.1 The β. forms are apparently due to association with that word. After the end of the 17th cent. only the β. forms are found, probably as a result of complete identification of the word with queer adj.1; from that date onward the senses below have probably been apprehended simply as spec. uses of queer adj.1 Compare also queer v.2
            The α. forms could perhaps be explained as showing variants of queer adj.1 with the same vowel raising as is found in e.g. quire n., but that seems unlikely, since that change is not likely to occur much later than the beginning of the 15th cent. (see E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §136), and would thus imply rather earlier currency for queer adj.1 than is in fact recorded.

            Criminals' slang.
            A. adj.2
            †1. Bad; contemptible, worthless; untrustworthy; disreputable. Obs.
            1567 T. Harman Caueat for Commen Cursetors (new ed.) Peddelars Frenche sig. Giiiv, To cutte quyre whyddes, to geue euel wordes or euell language.

            2. Of coins or banknotes: counterfeit, forged.
            1740 Ordinary of Newgate, his Acct. 7 May 15/1 Instead of returning the good Guinea again, they used to give a Queer One.

            B. n.1
            1. Forged or counterfeit money. Also in extended use.
            1819 J. H. Vaux New Vocab. Flash Lang. in Mem. Queer, base money.

            2. on the queer: living dishonestly; spec. engaged in the forging of currency. Cf. straight n. 1b(c). Now rare.
            1905 C. H. Day Actress & Clerk ii. 22 Only just feeling of you to see if you was on the queer.

            http://oed.com/view/Entry/156238
            queer, v.2
            Etymology: Of multiple origins. Apparently formed within English, by conversion. Etymons: queer adj.1; queer adj.2
            Apparently partly < queer adj.1, and partly < queer adj.2

            colloq.
            1. trans. Originally: to make a fool of, ridicule; to swindle, cheat; to get the better of. Later also: to puzzle, flummox, confound, baffle. Now arch.
            1781 M. P. Andrews Dissipation ii. v. 25 America! Damme, he seems a fool. I'll queer him.

            2. trans.
            a. To put out of order; to spoil. Also: to spoil the reputation or chances of (a person); to put (a person) out of favour (with another).
            1818 Sporting Mag. 2 189 His ogles were queered..and his head was dunned.

            b. to queer the pitch: (originally) to interfere with or spoil the business of a street vendor or performer (cf. pitch n.2 17a); (later more generally) to interfere with or spoil the business in hand; similarly to queer a person's pitch. Also in similar phrases, as to queer the game, to queer the deal, etc.
            1846 ‘Lord Chief Baron’ Swell's Night Guide (new ed.) 47 Rule iv… Nanty coming it on a pall, or wid cracking to queer a pitch.

            Queer isn't the inappropriate term here, whereas gay is, as gay is the opposite of coy; its meaning was forgotten and supplanted by campy and campy's forgotten and supplanted by swishy. Any word can be a slur; the only thing that matters is whether the word is so or not.

            3. trans. To cause (a person) to feel queer; to disconcert, perturb, unsettle. Now rare.
            1845 W. Cory Lett. & Jrnls. (1897) 34 Hallam was rather queered (it not being in his line to do anything so conspicuous).

  2. Apparently wikipedia was not happy that I edited her page to note that she is queer. They said it was unfounded info, despite the fact I linked her actual twitter posts where she says she is queer.

  3. I definitely really like Girl Meets World, mostly because I was (am) a giant Boy Meets World fan and I think it’s a cute spin off. I really hope people aren’t too awful to her and force their kids to stop watching the show because she seems like a talented kid.

    • I hope not either. I know she gets a ton of shit in her Instagram comments all the time because she is always posting things about feminism and race on there. I think it’s because she is on a Disney show and people, including Disney, have certain expectations of what they want a Disney star to be and behave like and Rowan is the opposite of that.

    • I am a huge fan of both shows and i know most people who watch both are most likey ok with Rowans’ tweet because Boy Meets World was a little more PG 13 and things like dating were involved and something like Rowans’ tweet wouldnt be a huge deal. So Good for you Rowan, that showed alot of courage. What i do hate though, is that people are making a huge deal about two tiny tweets that just erupted to a point where i feel really bad for Rowan and im annoyed by the person who first tweeted about it. People are saying oh it’s inappropriate at her age and for a disney star whos show is still going! This is highly unprofessional to them! But correct me if im wrong nor Disney or her parent have really taken to social media to adress this so random people out there, stop acting like her boss, or her parents because your not! Im sure her parents have talked about it with her and so have her bosses so mind your own business

  4. I fucking called it. I following Rowan for a while and there was just something about her that made think this girl was not the least bit heterosexual but I didn’t want to say that because she is young. Then her very good friend Amandla Stenberg came out and I said to myself, “I bet Rowan is next” and I was right. This is such a good thing for young queer girls(and straight girls) to see out celebrities their age. These are people they might look up to already. And we couldn’t ask for better than Amandla and Rowan, two very articulate young girls who are very outspoken about politics and equality for all.

  5. I’ve been shipping Maya and Riley from the start (I’m incorrigible that way : )). And I find it extremely aggravating that we’ve seen thousands and thousands of heterosexual teenage relationships, but a gay one causes a storm.

    • Yeah, I think this article probably needs to be edited to include her new tweets. She probably just misspoke and what she was trying to say is that she doesn’t label her sexuality even though she’s only ever been attracted to boys, instead of using the word queer and lumping herself in with that community if it’s not what she means.

  6. I get really worried about the valorization of young teenagers as feminist icons from very early on.

    On the one hand, it’s great that they’re so articulate and aware! That’s remarkable at any age, but especially when they’re young.

    On the other hand, they’ve still got a ton of time to learn and experiment and MESS UP in front of them, and I fear that the spotlight we’re putting on them right now is stopping them from being able to grow up by messing up. Our culture is not nice to anyone who dares fuck up over something political – “you’re oppressive!” and then they get thrown away. They’re no longer allowed to be messy, to change, to grow; they’re in statis because they’re perfect RIGHT NOW.

    And what if SJ thought changes in the future (it likely will, as new issues pop up) and they’re not quick to catch up? Will they be demonized now?

    And also, what a huge expectation to put on a child! Now other teenagers are expected to be Totally Perfectly SJ Aware and if they’re not CLEARLY they’re failing. Yikes! As if all of us were perfect SJ angels when we were that age (I know my teenage self was waaaaaaaay more SWERFy and femmephobic than I am now).

    Let kids be kids.

  7. I like “Girl Meets World” but this girl is attention seeking trash that likes to think that she knows everything, constantly going off about subjects that she probably doesn’t know much about to begin with. If she’s a lesbian, then fine. But she really needs to learn when to keep quiet because she is becoming an annoyance anymore with all of her constant chatter.

    However, I think that most of her rebellious behavior can be largely linked back to her parents, as no regular 14 year old would act out like this. The saddest part of all, however, is that she will never have a childhood.

  8. Sadly Girl Meets World usually features overacting, fake acting, awkward pauses, and OoC diction that seems to take from that lunatic Shakespeare’s work. I don’t remember that with Boy Meets World, but maybe I was too young to remember.

    I can’t stand these parents/breeders now.

  9. Usually, I think Rowan Blanchard is pretty cool…but if someone can explain to me how this is in any way different than saying you’re straight and somehow expecting props for it by using a word that doesn’t really apply to you, then I’m all ears.

    (I’m not snarking, I actually mean this. I’d be totally interested to hear the difference, should there be one!)

    • Do people give each other props for coming out as straight? Do people even come out as straight? I mean I don’t think you can really compare this situation to one in which someone comes out as straight. I see how her tweet island of misleading, but after thinking about it my view is I’m not going to begrudge someone, especially a kid, the label they choose. I’ve gone through many in my life before finding the one that fits. If she really feels it applies to her who am I to define queer for her? Sexuality and labels can be so complicated. The cool thing about the term queer (to me) is that it covers a lot of possible itirations of sexuality and kind of forces a more specific conversation about the individual’s sexuality.

      • I wasn’t even remotely suggesting anyone should get props for coming out as straight. Apologies if it came across that way.

        I was just being an old cynic with this tbh — Chloe’s comment below made me reconsider.

        I wasn’t trying to be unkind or snark here — I just genuinely couldn’t see where the difference lay and I’ve seen a couple of cool things which will definitely give me food for thought.

        • Oh yeah I wasn’t trying to be snarky at you either! It honestly made me wonder what coming out as straight might look like in our weird ass culture of presumed straightness haha

          • “Mom, dad… I’m straight!”

            “….”

            It would be weird for sure! Remember that fairly terrible alternate universe Ellen episode where everyone was gay but Spence? Maybe like that 🙂

  10. Now that she corrected herself as not queer, can we redact this article?
    I think it is great that she is not homophobic (basically how she means the word. She’s not attractive to women but she wouldn’t be upset if she was), but super icked out by the idea of allies using our labels because it’s now cool. I get that she is young, but I don’t think we should encourage her misuse of the term.
    It’s also not the first time I’ve seen this happen: straight man asks if he can label himself queer because he is in a heterosexual relationship that doesn’t conform to stereotypical gender roles. No. You’re straight and not misogynist. Not queer. Stop appropriating.

  11. Guys, she is fourteen.
    And while the kid is articulate beyond her years, she is trying on labels like clothes, and that’s totally ok.
    It’s ok at 40 as well, but even more so at 14.
    So, instead of projecting all of those huge responsibilities re:visibility on her, I am just glad that we’re in a place right now, where young teenagers can openly explore and question their sexuality and the words going along with it.
    That’s what I have been hoping for, so much, for so long, so yay for that!

    P.S.:I am saying this as a gold star Lesbian who had an Antonio Sabato Jr. poster in her locker and a major Dean Cain crush at fifteen. Don’t tell anyone.

    • Yeah exactly! I was mostly in denial about being queer until around age 17, but it wasn’t until I was *25* that I had any sort of sexual encounter with a woman. She’s so far only been attracted to men but is open to the possibility of being attracted to women – not surprising, being FOURTEEN, she’s not exactly surrounded by potential dates! Cut her some slack.

  12. Okay, here’s some further clarification from Rowan Blanchard. She says that she’s only been attracted to boys so far, but that she’s open to liking any gender in the future. I would say that she’s basically stating that she’s pansexual.

  13. Yeahhhhh the kid is straight. I mean, she’s fourteen, she’s still figuring her life out, but as it stands right now, including her in the LGBTQ community is problematic. She’s essentially saying “I could be! You never know!” which is not the same as “I am.” It just isn’t.
    I appreciate that gayness is becoming more accepted, but I loathe the fact that it’s essentially become a sort of cool label for a subset of young people. It’s almost a smack in the face when I think about how much I had to go through to come out, and how much I continue to go through as a lesbian.
    And, while I realize everyone is different, I knew at fourteen that I was a lesbian. So the “maybe one day I could be!” just doesn’t work for me.
    Some of my trans friends get really frustrated when openly cis people respond with “any pronoun works!” when asked their pronouns, because they feel like it discredits their struggle with misgendering. I kind of feel like this is similar.

    • “Straight by default/until proven otherwise” is the root of heteronormativity and the reason why I personally had no idea I was gay until I hit 25.

      So if she’s not comfortable putting herself in a box (even though queer is one to us and she might have been mistaken using that word but come on she’s 14) let’s not do it for her, right ?

      This is how I chose to understand what she’s saying: “I don’t know who I am yet, so please don’t assume I’m straight until I know 100% that I am”. I think this is AWESOME and hope this is what the future will be: nobody assuming anything until people “come out” as anything INCLUDING straight”.

      • When I said in my first comment I was looking for another interpretation of what she said rather than my cynical one, I meant it… and your last paragraph is a cool one: thanks for sharing 🙂

        At 14 I knew I was gayer than rainbows but it’s not like that for everyone and sometimes I forget that.

      • Yo, she said she’s only ever been attracted to boys. Sooooooooo that is the definition of straight. I’m not just assuming she’s straight. She provided a description of her sexuality, and then tacked “queer” onto it, but she didn’t describe queer. She described straight.
        How ’bout you not accuse me of heteronormative thinking until you read what she said and what I said. I never said that people should be straight until proven otherwise. I said that if someone is straight, they shouldn’t play this dumb game of trying to seem cool by saying “oooooh you never know!” That just doesn’t count. Yeah, for SOME people sexuality is fluid, but if it has yet to be so, don’t try and count yourself as part of my community. You are STILL the dominant, oppressive class, which comes with privileges. Stop invading my safe spaces and just acknowledge your truth.
        Another example: I’m of mixed heritage, identifying strongly and mostly as of indigenous and European background. This is like when white and black people claim ndn heritage when they’re…not, and the only claim they have is some family legend. And then claim it as part of their identity and try to join community conversations and involve themselves in safe spaces. Not cool.

        • You keep bringing up other situations that are far more cut and dry than this one. In this situation, she said that she has only been attracted to guys, and is open to other things happening in the future.

          Why are you forcing a “straight” label onto a fourteen year old girl who does not identify as such? How does that help things?

          I would expect a little more compassion and time for her to figure her shit out from the people in our AS community (which, by and large, we are giving her). Who knows completely, and can easily articulate, what they are at fourteen? Some people. Not everyone. Certainly not me.

          • She can figure her shit out, no problem. She has plenty of time to do so. HOWEVER, no, she can’t consider herself part of the LGBTQ community until she’s something other than straight. How is that not compassionate? I mean dear god. She described her sexuality. It was straight. Thus, she is not part of the queer community. Are we r THIS desperate for queer representation that we’ll literally except anyone, even straight people? Allies? Etc? Are we really willing to bend that far? Ugh.
            Let’s instead focus our attention on actual lgbtq youth who need our support.
            And no, the situations I brought up aren’t more clear cut. Gender can be fluid. Blood quantum is hella complex. Good god.

          • Chloe, everything you said was truth. I hate that you felt you had to apologize for it. I back everything you said.

    • “I could be, you never know” is often the first step. Or at least, it was for me and for some of my friends and family. I’m glad you knew at fourteen you were a lesbian, but I didn’t know until I was like twenty eight.

      She’s said now that she has only been attracted to guys. Who knows why she said that. Maybe it’s true. Maybe she’s unable to recognize her attraction to girls yet, like I was. Or maybe she’s taken back by the media attention her original tweet got. In my book, any of those are honestly okay.

      She’s figuring this all out in monster that is the Diseny Machine/the public eye, and I hope that our community, if no one else, can give her the time and space to do that.

      (You weren’t particularly harsh on her, I’m speaking there more to all of us generally.)

  14. I guess people are now labeling a fourteen year old as problematic. Y’know. A fourteen year old. Someone that’s straight out of middle school. The age where you unironically like things like Ray William Johnson (who I don’t think is a thing anymore but def was wheen I was 14) and bad Hot Topic t-shirts. But yeah, I’m sure everyone here was an unproblematic bastion of social justice at 14. Is an adolescent girl saying she’s open to exploring her sexuality really that bad? I have a friend that now realized she identifies as bisexual, but back when we were fourteen, she was outright disgusted by lesbians. Let kids grow up and discover themselves.

  15. To me, the big deal isn’t this one girl who used the term. I just feel like “queer” is becoming cool and I don’t like the idea of non-queer people using it to be cool.
    attracted to people other than those of the opposite sex or identifies as something other than the gender assigned at birth = queer
    attracted to people of the opposite sex but would not be upset if attracted to someone of the same sex = non-homophobic straight person.
    If she is really unsure if she is attracted to people of the same sex, then I don’t fault her. I’m just not looking forward to every twenty-something year old straight hipster calling themselves queer because it’s cool now.

    • You know, I’m 35 now. “Queer” came up while I was in College and meant something different then.*Transgender* was new then,too, and meant something more along the lines of non-binary.
      I however, was a “Lesbian” and told to “read up”on Language and queer history wymyn and what not.
      Words change and so do the generations of us.
      The metrosexual undercut hipsters of Berlin are certainly a lot queerer than I am, as a plain old Gay.
      These are Labels, not Badges.

  16. Dang this is one complicated situation! I feel like this is something a person could write an entire thesis on with how many crazy layers there are to this.

    On the one hand there’s the question of if we should police/protect the term “queer” and what it means/stands for. (For me, yes I think there is an important line that is/should be drawn.)

    Then there’s the factor of her age. It’s so awesome that she’s smart and informed and passionately speaks about feminism and things that are very important to her, but also it’s okay to acknowledge that a 14 year old (no matter how good her intentions) might not fully appreciate the weight of the subjects she’s discussing. Also it’s no secret that we as people are more likely to speak louder and with more conviction when we’re talking about things we don’t know everything about. Plus, when you grow up when so much buzz is happening around LGBT issues it wouldn’t be surprising if a teenager took on a label or identity because it might seem “cool” to do so. But also, there’s a lot of support within the queer community to let people chose what label feels like the most true to their feelings, so…

    And then there’s the consideration of trying to figure out the nuances of a teenagers sexuality through less than 500 characters of text.

    I think in writing this I’ve sussed out my own opinion, which is that I love and support where she’s at in her journey of becoming a human bean and I hope she continues to learn and grow and stay open to ideas that challenge her and help raise others up, but also as a queer person I think it’s important that we really understand what that means and the weight of carrying that identity around with you every minute of every day. If you are a cisgendered person who has only ever been attracted to people of the opposite sex, I wouldn’t consider that to fall under the definition of Queer as it means to those of us in the community. Being open to being queer is not the same as being queer, which is what it appears she’s saying (though I also feel v uncomfortable talking about “allowing” people to identify as queer based only on my knowledge of their sexuality as though I’m wielding some magic queer wand deciding who to bless with it). But that’s okay! I hope she continues to figure out her deepest truths and to meet them with an open heart and mind.

    But also, who knows? Maybe I’m misinterpreting her (very brief) explanation of her sexuality and she might identify as something other than straight in a way that is very meaningful to her. I think it’s awesome that she’s using her platform to open up a discussion on this and maybe help out other young people struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.

  17. Really sorry, but stuff like this is why my eyes now auto-roll whenever someone uses the word queer. People have decided it can mean practically anything and everything and in doing so have made it mean practically nothing.

    Like, it’s one thing to say you’d rather not use a label, but another to use a label that implies certain things that may not actually be true about yourself and is still considered a slur by many. I can easily excuse this girl because of her age but not so much some of the grown ass adults doing intellectual gymnastics about this.

  18. I am a huge fan of both shows as well and i know most people who watch both are most likey ok with Rowans’ tweet because Boy Meets World was a little more PG 13 and things like dating were involved and something like Rowans’ tweet wouldnt be a huge deal. So Good for you Rowan, that showed alot of courage. What i do hate though, is that people are making a huge deal about two tiny tweets that just erupted to a point where i feel really bad for Rowan and im annoyed by the person who first tweeted about it. People are saying oh it’s inappropriate at her age and a disney star thats show is still going! This is highly unprofessional to them! But correct me if im wrong nor Disney or her parent have really taken to social media to adress this so random people out there, stop acting like her boss, or her parents because your not! Im sure her parents have talked about it with her and so have her bosses but mind your own business.

  19. I know no-one else who watches GMW and was wondering, if anyone else here watches, what they thought of the epussode where Josh buys Maya a new wardrobe? I found it all so ickily intrusive and reductive that I stopped watching, when I mostly found the show relatively pussitive / enjoyably daft, and have been thinking about it since wondering about the reactions of others and can’t find anything online.

    • I haven’t seen that one, but the condescending cafeteria and janitor one (these jobs are a fate worse than death OMG) and the one where Riley was really snobby about going to Maya’s apartment both irritated the crap out of me.

      • I mean, the show continuously rubs me the wrong way (although it’s not meant for me, clearly, as a 32 year old woman). In one episode, the kids learn the value of jobs like lunch lady and janitor, and in the next ep, the janitor as good as says “I was a mean bully in high school and look what I am now, just a janitor.” In another episode, Corey attempts over and over to police his daughter’s dating life (sexuality) in really outdated creepy ways, that kind of promise-ring-my-dad-is-my-boyfriend until I’m older way, and his wife just rolls her eyes. It’s super problematic. The kids are adorable, though. I don’t honestly ever expect Disney Channel shows to be anything approaching progressive.

        • Yeah I’m twenty-three, I just discofured that Disney Channel shows seem to work well fur me as an escape furom the most awful purrts of being at Oxfurred so, equally, the show is not made fur me, but if it does something that upsets me it kind of defeats the point of me using it as an escape. And I’ve not really found this with sth like Liv & Maddie, though may be furgetting some aspect of the show… Eugh oh yeah wtf with the ancillary staff thing? I think our society’s attitude to jobs is messed up anyway and it’s a reflection of that but really not okay. Yeah I wasn’t old enough when BMW was on to watch it, so I guess I just find the purrents dull and I find Corey a bit of a Will Schuester. My Dad is a brusque Aussie guy, quite blokey in a lot of ways, but finds the way other fathers treat their daughters and how socially acceptable that sort of behaviour is incredibly creepy. And I think treating it as a joke / as just sth a concerned father does is creepy as fuck. Also, his whole “aaayyy aaaammmm suuuuh inspirational and caaaare suuuh much” thing really bothers me because he undercuts it all the time by being shit, and not in an amewsing way. Hmmm, I guess I wonder why this was the thing that stopped me watching because there are a lot of shit elements. I think it was because I was expecting SOMEONE to question Josh and no-one did – Liv & Maddie is fur furom purrfect, but I feel like it wouldn’t happen on that show and there have been a fur few plotlines involving the teenage girls determining their own lives + self-worth, so I was like “come oooon Disney, tell Josh he’s a slut-shaming two-dimensional bastard!” and then I was just bizarrely upset when they didn’t.

        • Corey was always my least favorite character on that show (at least once they got to high school) so it makes sense that he’s still awful. It is sad that Topanga has been reduced to rolling her eyes, though. But if I remember correctly, her character had lost a lot of what made her great by the time BMW was over, too.

          • Yeah she’s also relegated to this weird role where although she is apparently a lawyer, she is always home with her youngest son, who has a “fiance” (you know when you get married on the playground like kids do) and she is like in this stereotypical joke bit where she hates her five year old’s “girlfriend” to the point where it’s really weird, like if an adult was hating on a five year old to her face like that in real life it would be terrible and incredibly immature. And she does all of the cooking and cleaning, apparently, from what her family says at various times, even though she’s a lawyer and Corey’s a history teacher (who would generally get off work way earlier).

            I get that it’s a show for kids, but the parents are fulfilling all sorts of weird traditional gender role bits in a way more antiquated way than even my parents did in the eighties, and it’s a bummer.

          • What annoys about what they’ve done to Topanga is that she is essentially wallpaper for most episodes. The show gives her very little to do compared to Corey, who is the kids’ teacher. I’m trying to think of an episode where Topanga had her own main storyline with the kids and I can’t come up with one. She usually appears alongside Cory in scenes with the kids, not by herself.

      • Oh yeah eugh those were bad – I felt like they were suppussed to be doing the oppussite of what they achieved, which is shit, but I think what really bothered me about the one I mentioned is that Josh tells Maya she should change her clothes because HE doesn’t like the way she dresses, and he thinks it lets her down and secretly she doesn’t want to be as sexmewal or alternative as she is and she’s just like OMG yay someone cares about me and he buys her a new “sophistiCATed” wardrobe. I was so confused… I know Disney can be shit, but this surpurrised me because I think Maya is mewsually granted way more subjectikitty / self-knowledge, even if she is sometimes playing a role.

    • I babysit my niece a lot so my tv is pretty much glued to the Disney Channel when she’s around. I haven’t seen all of S1’s episodes but I’ve been watching S2. I feel like they are pretty much done with the Josh character at this point. The show has decided to do something I abhor, which is to have Riley and Maya both want to date Lucas. It’s created this weird love triangle of sorts that has spanned a good portion of the season with Riley deciding to forgo her own interest in Lucas because Maya(who showed no interest in Lucas until the writers decided she was in love with him in the Texas episodes) “deserves it more because of the hard life she has had”. Just WTF? That’s not how life works. What kind of message is that sending children? You should give up your own happiness because your best friend’s parents are flaky deadbeats? It has been maddening to watch. I don’t know how long they plan on dragging this out but they never should have done it in the first place. I feel like it was done out of pure fan-service because fans of the show tend to lean more towards Sabrina Carpenter and have been wanting Maya with Lucas since the beginning. If they really wanted to go with that pairing they could have done so without compromising all of the characters to accomplish it.

      • THIS.

        The love triangle thing is tired, boring and annoying. We need to have better stories about girls and women than this.

        Especially given that Riley and Maya pass the Bechdel test so often, this was a frustrating turn of events.

        It would make more sense if Lucas actually had any charisma at all, but that boy is like a plank of wood.

        Don’t even get me started on what they have done to my Topanga! (She was soooo my teenage crush.)

        Has anyone seen the STEM episode yet?

        • Have realised I think I meant Sean – I get names with similar sounds in mixed up, appurrently linked to my dyspurraxia. Out of interest, what was Topanga like? I get the impurression she was great but am really confused why they bothered having her in the show if she’s just going to hang around and be there but not have storylines.

    • it was shawn who bought maya the outfit not joshua. there definitely was chemistry and more than a little interest in her resonating from him. he was supposed to be courting her mother but was upstaged by the incredibly hot sabrina carpenter.

  20. This hits me! I identify as queer, as a cis woman who has never slept with another woman and is currently dating a straight man. Something about dating a straight conservative Catholic for years and years that may have stymied some personal growth and exploration of.. inclinations until after we broke up. Ended up meeting and sticking with current significant other, a fantastic understanding straight cis man who’s known from day 1 that I’ve gone out with women and is totally fine with it. But sometimes ‘gone out with’ or ‘made out with’ or ‘been very turned on by’ women doesn’t feel like enough to call myself queer when I’m in the middle of this very phenotypically straight relationship. So I guess things like this just make me nervous.. I wish she wouldn’t call it queer.. But I hope being attracted to people of multiple genders, even if you don’t end up sleeping with them, or forming long-term relationships, is enough to call yourself queer, because if it’s not I don’t know what to call myself, since I’m pretty sure I’m not straight. Sigh.

    • Hey, I’m also a queer cis women who has more history with men than women. I’m pretty sure I’m real. I feel so freakin real! I like the labels queer and bisexual and wlw. I think you’re real too, and you can label or not label yourself whatever you want. No matter who you date or kiss or sleep with. There are so many possible reasons behind this, including sexual and romantic attraction, social stigma, bisexual and femme invisiblity, the fact that society trains us from birth on how to act out heterosexual relationships but leaves us completely on our own to build homosexual relationship templates.

      Maybe this is one of the first steps in realizing this girl’s identity for herself. Maybe she’s widening her perspectives. Maybe her potential for same-sex attraction and relationships will remain an unanswered question. Queerness is a hard thing to define and claim, especially when you feel naive through age or inexperience.I see a younger version of myself in Rowan. I wish I had an online or physical gay community to explore and welcome me when I was that age.

      While I understand why people want to police and protect the queer label, nobody has the ability ot draw that clear line in the sand. Nobody gets to be the gold star wearing, eye-rolling sheriff of gaytown.

      You’re real, I’m real, we deserve a space in this community.

      • Katie, thank you. <3 You sound fantastic and I'm so glad you posted.

        Yes to everything, and especially this, when I think back on a particular girl/girl friendship when I was around Rowan's age that in retrospect looked romantic in every way except, well, that it was never sexual:
        "the fact that society trains us from birth on how to act out heterosexual relationships but leaves us completely on our own to build homosexual relationship templates"

    • Same here – I’m bisexual, I 100% know this, but I’ve never been with a woman and I’m in a long term relationship with a man. I worry too that people are going to police my sexuality, which is a huge part of the reason I went to read the comments on this article. I worry that people who want to draw the line on the label “queer” are going to do it with me on the other side. =/

      • Yes to this thread. There is a time in my life, when I was younger, when my comment would have sounded just like you ladies’…and now, just maybe five years later, I date mostly women. But before, when I was in that kind of luminal space where it came to my queer future, I was petrified by the people who might want to put me in a “straight” box because I had never had something I could recognize as a crush on an actual tangible woman. The fear of those people who might call me straight definitely helped keep me in the closet and from exploring that side of me…which is why I am really, really wary of people who would police the kid’s language and tell her she’s straight.

        • Like I said before, I honestly didn’t really get why she wasn’t just saying “straight”.

          I posted looking for some genuine understanding because I definitely didn’t want to police her idea of her own identity.

          All the posts in this whole thread have been amazing and have made me realise that even though I knew my sexuality since the dawn of time, it’s not cut and dry for everyone.

          I think it’s terrible that people are worried they’d be invalidated as properly being part of the community because of who they have or haven’t dated. That sucks.

          I get it now. I’m sorry if I inadvertently contributed to that in this discussion.

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