Amandla Stenberg reveals their celebrity crushes after coming out as gay

INGLEWOOD, CA - APRIL 07: Actress Amandla Stenberg speaks onstage at WE Day California 2016 at The Forum on April 7, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for WE Day )

Amandla Stenberg has opened up about their first celebrity crushes after coming out as gay.

The 19-year-old actor, who made their name in The Hunger Games series and uses gender-neutral they/them pronouns, came out in an interview with lesbian pop singer King Princess – real name Mikaela Straus – in Wonderland magazine.

Stenberg has previously come out as queer and – in 2016 – as bisexual.

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 16:  Recording artist King Princess (L) and actor Amandla Stenberg attend the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV)

King Princess and Amandla Stenberg at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards (Emma McIntyre/Getty)

And they revealed the root of this realisation, saying: “I’m maybe nine or 10 years-old, channel surfing secretly in the TV room while my parents are asleep. Something catches my eye on the TV Guide – it says After Sex is playing on HBO.

“Zoe Saldana and Mila Kunis fill the screen. They’re sitting in a library, and Zoe puts her hand between Mila’s mini skirt and white cowboy boot-clad legs. She watches Mila’s face with relish before LICKING HER FINGERS and TELLING HER SHE TASTES GOOD!

“It was simply too much for a gay tot to bear. I ran to the bathroom confused and disoriented, thinking I had peed my pants. After that, I would religiously watch that clip on YouTube underneath the covers of my bunk bed.

WESTWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 30:  Mila Kunis attends the premiere of STX Entertainment's "A Bad Moms Christmas" at Regency Village Theatre on October 30, 2017 in Westwood, California.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Mila Kunis (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty)

“And then all that gay s**t went down between Mila and Natalie Portman in Black Swan, to further the ardour. So Mila Kunis was probably my first lesbian crush, besides that silver-haired hoe Mirage from The Incredibles or Christina Vidal’s punk ass in Freaky Friday.

The actor gave more insights about their coming out process, saying: “I was so overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realised that I’m gay. Not bi, not pan, but gay — with a romantic love for women.

Christina Vidal (Disney)

“All of the things that felt so internally contrary to my truest self were rectified as I unravelled a long web of denial and self-deprivation.

“Like oh, maybe there’s a reason why I kissed my best friends and felt ashamed growing up,” they continued. “Or watched lesbian porn and masturbated (and more) with my friends at sleepovers.

“Or stifled a scream of horror the first time I saw a penis and had to convince myself with much internal strife that I was enjoying what was going down.

Mirage (Disney)

“Or could only find attraction towards gay men and femme boys who damn near had the sensibility of a woman. Or developed earth-shattering, all-consuming crushes on… GIRLS!

“I was flooded with a sense of calm and peace because everything that I struggled with or felt discomfort around finally made sense to me, and once those floodgates opened and years of pent up pain and shame were released, I found the freedom to live my best life waiting for me just underneath.”

Stenberg, who revealed earlier this year that they turned down a role in the incredibly successful Black Panther because they are light-skinned, said that more representation would have made a huge difference to them while growing up.

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 23:  Actress Amandla Stenberg attends "Everything, Everything" Screening & Brunch at SCADShow on April 23, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)

Stenberg said they were “overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realised that I’m gay.” (Paras Griffin/Getty)

“Had I had more representations of black gay women growing up, I probably would’ve come to conclusions around my sexuality much earlier because I would’ve had more of a conception of what was possible and okay,” they said.

“Having more representations of black gay women now and seeing myself reflected in them has been a huge aid in seeing myself as whole, complete and normal.”

Stenberg, who is studying at New York University, said they were thankful to the LGBT community, explaining:
“I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way.

“The continual process of unlearning heteronormativity and internalized homophobia can be difficult, but one of the biggest blessings lies in the magic that comes from having to understand love outside the confines of learned heterosexual roles.

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 16: Actor Amandla Stenberg attends the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV)

Amandla Stenberg attends the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards (Emma McIntyre/Getty)

“It is the power to reveal the ethereal love that exists within us underneath socialisation.

“Once I was able to rid myself of those parameters, I found myself in a deep well of unbounded and untouchable love free from the dominion of patriarchy.

“My sexuality is not a byproduct of my past experiences with men, who I have loved, but rather a part of myself I was born with and love deeply.”

Stenberg joins several other actors in coming out over the past year, including 13 Reasons Why actor Brandon Flynn, who made the announcement in an emotional Instagram post.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: Actor Brandon Flynn attends City Year Los Angeles Spring Break on May 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for City Year Los Angeles)

Brandon Flynn (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

Younger actor Dan Amboyer came out as gay in October, while also revealing that he had married his long-time boyfriend Eric P. Berger.

And in April, 24-year-old former Disney actress Alyson Stoner – best known for her roles in Cheaper by the Dozen and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody – came out as bisexual.