Sophie Turner Sure Has Been With Girls: “Game of Thrones” Star “Loves Souls, Not Gender”

Rolling Stone published a brilliant, breathless, behemoth profile of Game of Thrones stars and best friends Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams today. There are almost too many gems to count. (I particularly love how many times Maisie Williams says the word “fuck,” such as: “I thought I wasn’t a feminist if my favorite color was pink. And then I decided that’s fucking stupid.”) But that is not why we are here today! Hidden among these many profile gems and GoT final season teases is Sophie Turner talking about her engagement to Joe Jonas, during which conversation she tells writer Brian Hiatt:

“I think once you’ve found the right person, you just know. I feel like I’m much older a soul than I am in age. I feel like I’ve lived enough life to know. I’ve met enough guys to know — I’ve met enough girls to know. I don’t feel 22. I feel like 27, 28.” As for the “girls” part: “Everyone experiments,” she says with a shrug. “It’s part of growing up. I love a soul, not a gender.”

Turner says it so casually, and it’s tucked so far into the interview, and she’s such an enormous star heading into the final season of maybe the most popular TV show of all time, about to headline her own Jean Grey movie, I had to read it ten times to confirm to myself that she really was simply shrugging to Rolling Stone about her sexuality (which she doesn’t label, so I won’t either). I guess if I’m being honest with myself, she should have pinged my sensibilities when she started adopting all those Dire Wolves.

Also, in this interview, she says she used to lay in bed and cry for Sansa, and also that she “cries at everything,” and that her alias is “Boy George,” and she’s great at pool, and her found family is “everything,” and she spent almost all of Game of Thrones envying Maisie for getting to wear trousers and sword fight, all of which is pretty firmly queer culture.

The whole profile is great and you should absolutely read it. The main takeaway is that Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams spent a decade playing little girls growing into young women who were desperate to find just a little bit of agency and power — and now, in real life, they are happy, well-adjusted, grown-ass adults who love each other fiercely and can do anything they want with their futures, including not being straight and not caring who knows it.

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 800 articles for us.

33 Comments

  1. She’s only 22? How old was she when Game Of Thrones started? It feels like it’s been 84 years since that show started so I definitely thought she was older than 22 by now.

  2. Unpopular opinion: I feel like the “I fall in love with personalities/brains/souls/spirits/auras, not genders” bit is the currently-young-ish person’s “I don’t see colour”.

    It could say something about their sexuality. A lot of queer people certainly say things like that, because they’re bi+, because they want to be vague or because they’re responding to a microagression by getting on a bit of a high horse.

    But it also could emphatically not say something about their sexuality, because few straight people (whether they’ve kissed someone of the same sex as a dare or an experiment or not) think they fall in love with a person’s gender. This means they aren’t lying (and can thus feel justified) when they use phrases like these.

    • I feel like this isn’t fair though because pretending to be colorblind actually harms people. I’m not trying to attack you in any way, I just don’t see the harm here.

      • I’m not trying to say that both statements cause the same harm.

        I’m trying to say that both statements, for the person saying them, can come from the same place of “I’m so open-minded”. Both are trying to express “to me everyone has equal value/are on a level playing field” in a way that’s kinda intended to make the speaker sound enlightened.

        • I mean… maybe in some cases, sure. Which I guess is what you were trying to say initially? But I guess I just feel like for Sophie Turner in particular, it’s more than that, just based on her full statement/other comments she has made in the past/a Vibe I get, I guess?

          I think I always celebrate when actresses I like say they are open to relationships with people of different genders because I was so desperate for that kind of representation as a young teenager. Also, in some instances (I’m thinking of Shailene Woodley, in particular) it makes me feel less creepy for finding them attractive? Because they’re at least theoretically attracted to women? Idk if that makes any sense. Maybe it is my own issue to work out with internalized homophobia or whatever. But I guess I just feel like it’s not a bad thing if it helps people feel less alone.

          • I mean… maybe in some cases, sure. Which I guess is what you were trying to say initially? But I guess I just feel like for Sophie Turner in particular, it’s more than that, just based on her full statement/other comments she has made in the past/a Vibe I get, I guess?

            Right, but my comment doesn’t speculate at all about whether or not Sophie Turner is queer or not. That’s not what it’s about.

        • For some reason it won’t let me reply to your final comment, so I’ll just answer here:

          I’m sorry, I understand that whether or not Sophie Turner is queer is not the issue here, and you’re trying to make a broader point about how when people use phrases like these they are trying to sound enlightened/sort of setting themselves up as better than mere mortals who do see gender, or whatever. Idk. I guess what rubbed me the wrong way about your comment was that you compared it to the colorblind thing, and also that you seemed to dismiss it as a fad, if that makes sense?

          Idk. I guess I’m just thinking about the young girls that may look up to Sophie Turner and are discovering that they are somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum and wondering if that’s okay or not. I also understand though that if these comments are made flippantly and then retracted that they can cause more harm than good (see Lady Gaga, Brendon Urie, etc). I guess in general I just feel like it’s more complicated that you’re making it out to be? Also, unless a star is actively responding to gay rumors (Kendall Jenner is the one that comes to mind), I think when celebrities make these comments it generally is because they do have SOME level of attraction to their own gender, whether they would phrase it that way or not.

    • Oh, I definitely see what you mean. I don’t always take ‘it’s not about gender’ to mean someone is bi+, because there are a lot of straight people who say that and what they mean is, as you say, they don’t perceive their attractions as being about gender (even though they are) and they’re open to the possibility of falling for someone of the same gender, however unlikely that may be. With Sophie, though, it’s the ‘I’ve met enough guys, I’ve met enough girls’ which makes me think it’s more serious than that for her.

    • For some people this type of statement is definitely laced with a condescending implication, but I think many people who use it haven’t thought that through, they’re just trying to articulate an experience they don’t talk about very often. I always cringe whenever I hear ‘I don’t see gender’ but I think probably most of the people who use it aren’t trying to get on a high horse.

      • I agree with this. Like “I don’t see gender” is obviously a dumb thing to say, because everyone does whether they like it or not, but I feel like most people are attracted to other people, not genders? Like you may only be attracted to people of one gender, but you’re not attracted to their gender itself, because that would be that you’re attracted to all people of that gender. Idk, does that make sense? I hope this doesn’t come off as horribly offensive. I’m bi but I obviously think that people can be straight or gay. I’m not one of those nuts who thinks that everyone’s sexuality is fluid, I promise!

        • You’re right, everyone sees gender, even if you like them all/more than one. It would make more sense to just say ‘I’m attracted to people of both/all genders.’

          The unfortunate implication of ‘I’m attracted to souls, not genders’ is that the person who says it has transcended the world of monosexuals and lives on a higher spiritual plane. This is certainly a narrative often deployed during everyone’s favourite super productive arguments between lesbians and bisexuals/queer/pan people.

          I would compare it to ‘gold star lesbian’ in that it generally rubs people the wrong way because it has been used so often in a condescending way, and occasionally someone says with more neutral intentions and it has the same effect. I think that’s especially the case with bi, queer, or sexually fluid celebrities who are trying to explain themselves when they’re grilled about sexual identity.

    • As someone who prefers the label “queer,” is probably a 4.5 on the kinsey scale, uses lesbian as an adjective to describe my relationship, and is pan-but-likes-women-best…

      I find the idea of “falling in love with people/souls, not genders” super different than my own experience. I have NO idea what it would be like to have fallen in love with my wife separate from our genders because it shapes my attraction to her, her lived experience as a woman, our experience of gender norms within and outside our relationship, etc. I’m sure it is authentic to many people’s experience of attraction and love because I hear a lot of people say it! But every time I’m like “woahhh that is different than how it is for me.” And it certainly makes me feel like my place within the bi+ community is even more tenuous because a lot of people define bisexuality “I could have ended up with someone of any gender, my current relationship is just luck of the draw” while I’m over here being super happy and relieved the love of my life is a woman but still having crushes on people of various genders.

      Re: the question of the harm that being “genderblind” can cause people, it feels a little bit like saying “We don’t use pronouns here because we commune as souls” when pronouns and stating gender identity are REALLY important to a lot of people. I want to be loved and lusted after in all of my amazing Femme identity.

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