Pride Month 2020: How Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson helped open dialogue on gender identity and cross-dressing
As young and talented performers, these young stars have helped expand the boundaries and limitations on what it means to be a queer person, or anyone on the gender spectrum
As young and talented stars, both Miley Cyrus and her current partner Cody Simpson are talented musicians who are also extremely comfortable with shrugging off labels that the world has bestowed on them. Their frank views on allyship and authentic grassroots promotion of Pride culture has helped open doors and frank discussions with the LGBTQIA++ community at large and helped champion the cause of rainbow flag-waving activists everywhere.
Even when Cyrus was the darling 'It' girl of the notoriously politically correct Disney Channel during her 'Hannah Montana' heyday, she made it clear that she was her own independent woman. As a free spirit who did not want her actions dictated or censored by a third party, Cyrus had been sexually open and explored her androgynous leanings for years. While growing up in Nashville, she admitted other sexually curious teenage girls were free to be themselves around her. "They all wanted to experiment. I was always the one," she revealed.
Cyrus even confessed that she came out as bisexual to her mother when she was just 14. Cyrus told Paper Magazine, “I remember telling her I admire women in a different way. And she asked me what that meant. And I said, 'I love them. I love them like I love boys'. And it was so hard for her to understand. She didn’t want me to be judged and she didn’t want me to go to hell. But she believes in me more than she believes in any God. I just asked for her to accept me. And she has.”
Cyrus came out as pansexual and gender-fluid at the age of 22 and made it clear that her 2018 marriage to former partner Liam Hemsworth didn't compromise her queer identity. “The reason that people get married sometimes can be old-fashioned, but I think the reason we got married isn’t old-fashioned — I actually think it’s kind of New Age. We’re redefining, to be f***ing frank, what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship. A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person," she told Vanity Fair.
She continued, "What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality. Relationships and partnerships in a new generation — I don’t think they have so much to do with sexuality or gender. Sex is actually a small part, and gender is a very small, almost irrelevant part of relationships." She also added, “Being someone who takes such pride in individuality and freedom, and being a proud member of the LGBTQIA++ community, I’ve been inspired by redefining again what a relationship in this generation looks like. Sexuality and gender identity are completely separate from partnership."
Ever since she launched her InstaPride campaign on social media back in 2015, Cyrus has been a vocal advocate for sexuality and acceptance beyond the traditional boy-girl norms. Cyrus told Billboard that she doesn't really identify as a boy or a girl. While she said her looks could vary between the masculine and feminine, defying norms for how girls are expected to dress, Cyrus said her gender identity didn't have to be confined to the binary.
Cyrus stated once stated, "I’m always like, 'It’s weird that I’m a girl, because I just don’t feel like a girl, and I don’t feel like a boy.'" In another interview, she admitted that she was “literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. I’m down with any adult – anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.” These views have clearly extended to her current relationship with her partner Cody Simpson.
In Simpson's recent music video for 'Captain's Dance With The Devil', which was directed by his partner Cyrus, one can see the former dressed in drag, bedecked in a necklace, earrings, and fishnet stockings in certain shots. Talking about the cross-dressing concept behind the video, Simpson revealed, "Miley interpreted the song, which is reflected in the newly released visual, as the Captain’s struggle with societal norms regarding masculinity, and his secret affinity for dressing as a woman at a time when this was not as widely accepted as it now has become. Being able to tell that story throughout this music visual was ideal, and I hope it inspires encouragement toward creative freedom in people in the realms of art, music, wardrobe, and life."
Cyrus has responded to criticism of her forthright views in the past by patiently explaining, “What I’m about is all about acceptance.” Cyrus also stated, “I hope more kids don’t do what I did and sit in their room and cry, thinking ‘I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be’. But when I tell kids sometimes, ‘Just be yourself,’ I feel like, ‘I hope you can do that. Can you really do that?’” She also surmised, “Maybe if you’re finally getting to be yourself, it’s more of a celebration... Like, you are living your f***ing life.”
As she declared in a recent interview with Time magazine, "I’m just equal. I’m just even. It has nothing to do with any parts of me or how I dress or how I look. It’s literally just how I feel. People try to make everyone something. You can just be whatever you want to be."