Kristen Stewart, who enthralled millions of teens as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” movie series, has clearly moved on, personally and sexually. She’s more open than ever about her personal life, but fans are having a hard time accepting she’s a lesbian–even if she’s totally down with it.
In her latest interview in Elle magazine’s “Women in Hollywood” issue, the 26-year-old actress has no qualms about how she has changed since she became romantically involved with Alicia Cargile.
“I’m not ashamed and I’m not confused,” Stewart said. “Things have changed. And not just with me — we’re really allowed to encourage this new acceptance to develop and be awesome.”
Stewart, however, is best and most fondly remembered for her on-screen and off-screen relationship with Robert Pattinson. During the movie series’ four-year run, they were portrayed as the embodiment of true love, must like “Twilight” characters Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen.
For many fans it’s been hard to let go of that image, one which low-flying tabloids still cynically milk for page views, although Stewart certainly has.
She began openly dating Cargile after a string of rumored flings with singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, model Stella Maxwell and French singer Stephanie “Soko” Sokolinski.
“Right now, I’m just really in love with my girlfriend,” she told Elle UK. “We’ve broken up a couple of times and gotten back together, and this time I was like, ‘Finally, I can feel again.’”
Yet, many ardent fans refuse to accept it. On fan sites and forums, some argued that Stewart is categorically not a lesbian. Rather, they insist, she is bi-sexual or “sexually fluid.”
“She doesn’t label herself but if YOU are going to give her one, at least bisexual or sexually fluid would be more accurate,” wrote one fan recently.
Wrote another: “She has adamantly refused to label her sexuality. She is sexually fluid. Learn what it means and respect her decision.”
The term sexual fluidity gained currency through Lisa M. Diamond’s 2009 book “Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire.”
She argues that traditional labels regarding sexual desire are inadequate, especially as they pertain to women. She says sexuality or sexual identity can change over time and change back again.
But most scientists and mental health professionals generally do not believe that sexual orientation is a choice. They believe primarily genetics and secondarily social and environmental influences, determine sexuality.
If there is any fluidity, it comes from the fact that some people take time to discover their true sexuality, either through denial or simply personal growth and realization.
Stewart’s embrace of lesbianism has also had a profound effect on her personal life.
“I would never talk about any of my relationships before, but once I started dating girls it seemed like there was an opportunity to represent something really positive. I still want to protect my personal life, but I don’t want to seem like I’m protecting the idea, so that does sort of feel like I owe something to people.”
In Certain Women, Stewart plays a lawyer who goes through a sexual awakening of her own. She unexpectedly falls for a rough-hewn ranch hand played by Lily Gladstone.
“The two characters that you see there are making a serious mis-connection,” she told the magazine. “You’re watching two people have completely separate conversations, and there’s something really painful about that.”
Certain Women hits theaters on Friday. The debate over sexuality is sure to go on… indefinitely.
Check out Kristen’s “Today” show interview below.
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