While it’s been long assumed that Miley Cyrus’s first relationship was with her fellow Disney star Nick Jonas, the 23-year-old singer recently revealed otherwise.
In a recent interview with Variety, the Voice coach opened up about her sexuality, and how she’s never really felt particularly feminine or masculine.
“My whole life, I didn’t understand my own gender and my own sexuality. I always hated the word ‘bisexual,’ because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl,” she explained. “My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick. I grew up in a very religious Southern family.”
Because of her family’s views, Cyrus says she even had a hard time understanding herself, until she became a part of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles.
“I went to the LGBTQ center here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories. I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female,” she remembered. “Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life.”
“I think that was the first gender-neutral person I’d ever met,” she continued. “Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, ‘Oh—that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.'”
Cyrus, who is now engaged to Liam Hemsworth, went on to say that she hopes that her work with the LGBTQ community will be her legacy, and not her time as a pop star.
“My empowerment comes from feeling like I have a purpose now,” she told Variety. “On my tombstone, I didn’t want the ‘Wrecking Ball’ lyrics. I wanted it to be something greater.”