Shannon Purser of Stranger Things and Riverdale fame comes out as bisexual

Shannon Purser, who captured fans’ heart while playing Barb on Stranger Things, has come out as bisexual.

The 19-year-old actor talked last week about struggling to reconcile her sexuality with her faith, and has now fully opened up to her fans in an emotional message.

Purser, who now plays Ethel Muggs on another hit Netflix show, young adult drama Riverdale, posted a screenshot on Twitter of her coming out announcement.

She wrote that she has “only just recently come out as bisexual to my family and friends.

“It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much.

“I’m very very new to the LGBT community.”

The decision to come out was sparked by conversations with fans online who accused Riverdale – which features close friends Betty and Veronica – of falsely implying the two characters would get together.

Betty and Veronica have kissed on the show in order to seem risqué, though other characters called them out in the show for perpetuating a tired trope.

Fans who want to ship Betty and Veronica into ‘Beronica’ ended up bringing these allegations to Purser – with a bit too much force.

In response, the star tweeted her annoyance.

She followed this up by stating: “Ships are great, being horrible to people who don’t ship your ship is not.”

And to a fan who told her Riverdale “had the chance to open doors and do something groundbreaking,” she emphasised that “representation is so powerful and important.

“But we didn’t write the show? We have literally no say in what happens.”

A few minutes later, she tweeted: “Lemme clarify, not angry at beronica stans. Not even angry at rightfully upset beronica stans. Disappointed with hateful people. Peace ✌?”

And four hours after that, she posted her coming out message.

Purser explained: “I have never heard the term ‘queerbaiting’ in my life until today.

“That being said, I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone and my tweet was thoughtless.

“I wasn’t referring to all the beronica shippers, just the ones who had been particularly cruel to me personally.

“Either way, it wasn’t a wise or kind thing to say and I’m disappointed in myself, especially as a Christian who has always been taught to speak love to others.

“Thank you to all the people who kindly reached out to me and educated me about the reality your feelings about queerbaiting and I apologise to those who were hurt. Much love- Shannon.”

Last week was the first time Purser opened up about her sexuality, in a series of tweets.

The actor also dispensed advice to fans who might be going through a similar journey.

She wrote that it can be “really scary” but encouraged her followers to “take it slow.

“It can define you as much as you want it to,” she added.

“All that to say, you’re not alone.”

Then, she tweeted, simply: “Growing up is hard.”

She has spoken out about her religion before, telling fans that “being a Christian means knowing Who to thank when things go well for us and Who to ask for help when things get tough.”

Stranger Things, the huge summer hit which has attracted four nominations from the rebranded and gender-neutral MTV Movie & TV Awards, is replete with fans who discuss the sexuality of its characters.

But Noah Schnapp, who plays the target of most of this speculation, 12-year-old Will Byers, said last year that “Will being gay or not is besides the point.”

Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery, who play Jonathan and Steve on the show, did share a kiss inside InStyle Magazine’s after party Photo Booth earlier this year, though.