Kristen Stewart is InStyle's November cover girl, and the actress gave the outlet a candid and rare interview about her journey coming out as queer and becoming more comfortable discussing and demonstrating her romantic relationships publicly. Stewart addressed her past hesitancy being photographed with her partners in her late teens and early twenties, explaining why she has come to be more comfortable with the public attention on her love life. (Stewart is currently dating screenwriter Dylan Meyer; in her teens and early twenties, she dated Michael Angarano (2005-2009), Robert Pattinson (2009-2013), Alicia Cargile (2015-2016), and Soko (2015-2016).)
Clea Duvall, the director of Stewart's upcoming film Happiest Season, interviewed her for the magazine and asked whether Stewart's own experiences drew her to the project. For context, as InStyle put it, "the film is about a woman named Harper, played by Mackenzie Davis, who has yet to come out to her family but brings her girlfriend, Abby, played by Stewart, home for Christmas."
Stewart responded, "Yeah. The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it's like, 'God, I'm 21 years old.' I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I've been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn't like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery. This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey. Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things—things that would become not ours. So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn't something I understood then. Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, 'No, I'm fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything's fine.' That's bullshit. It's been hard. It's been weird. It's that way for everyone."
She also addressed whether she feels there's an expectation for her to be a spokesperson for the LGBTQA+ community.
"I did more when I was younger, when I was being hounded about labeling myself," Stewart candidly admitted. "I had no reticence about displaying who I was. I was going out every day knowing I'd be photographed while I was being affectionate with my girlfriend, but I didn't want to talk about it. I did feel an enormous pressure, but it wasn't put on me by the [LGBTQ+] community. People were seeing those pictures and reading these articles and going, 'Oh, well, I need to be shown.' I was a kid, and I felt personally affronted. Now I relish it. I love the idea that anything I do with ease rubs off on somebody who is struggling. That shit's dope! When I see a little kid clearly feeling themselves in a way that they wouldn't have when I grew up, it makes me skip."
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