Miley Cyrus talks about gender, sexuality and coming out to her parents

"I think the LGBTQ alphabet could continue forever," says Miley Cyrus, who identifies as "pansexual".
"I think the LGBTQ alphabet could continue forever," says Miley Cyrus, who identifies as "pansexual". Photo: Frazer Harrison

Miley Cyrus has opened up about her sexuality and coming out to her parents, in a new – and very candid –interview about her life.

Speaking to Variety, the actress and singer said that for a long time, she struggled to understand her own gender and sexuality.

"I always hated the word 'bisexual'," she says, "because that's even putting me in a box." 

The 23-year-old's first relationship was with a woman, something she says, her parents initially didn't understand. "I grew up in a very religious Southern family," she says. "The universe has always given me the power to know I'll be OK. Even at that time, when my parents didn't understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand."

Cyrus shares that unlike her mother – whom she describes as like an "80s rock chick" –she never loved being a girl. And yet, she explains, being a boy didn't sound like fun, either.

"I think the LGBTQ alphabet could continue forever," says Cyrus. " But there's a "P" that should happen, for 'pansexual'."

Cyrus explains that she first identified as pansexual when she figured out "what it was". When she visited the LGBTQ centre in Los Angeles, the singer describes that she saw one person in particular, who didn't identify as male or female.

"Looking at them they were both," she says, "beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine." Cyrus says she related to that person more than she had ever related to anyone.

The singer describes that while people may not perceive her as neutral, that's how she feels. "I think that was the first gender-neutral person I'd ever met," she says. "Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more."

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Says Cyrus of this realisation, " I was like, 'Oh – that's why I don't feel straight and I don't feel gay. It's because I'm not."

The 23-year-old is now appearing as a mentor on The Voice. One contestant, she says, started crying when she left, because Cyrus was the reason she came out.

It was also a pivotal moment for Cyrus' mother, Tish, who was brought to tears.

"She [her mother] was like, 'I'm so sorry about the way I was when you were that age and coming out. She never understood me until she saw that girl who couldn't be herself."

"It was very cool," says Cyrus.

Cyrus has now established the Happy Hippie foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable youth populations.

"I am only doing The Voice, because that helps Happy Hippie," she says.

For more information on Happy Hippie visit: https://www.happyhippies.org