Miley Cyus in Paper Magazine (censored version) Photo: Instagram/papermagazine
Miley Cyrus' Paper Magazine cover did the rounds of the internet yesterday, with Cyrus posing naked and muddy, hugging a pig with a big cheesy smile. And sure, that's pretty cool, but what she has to say inside – about gender, sexuality and social activism – is even more interesting.
Cyrus told Paper that she has come to see both her gender identity and her sexuality as fluid: "I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."
"I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that's legal, I'm down with. Yo, I'm down with any adult – anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me," she said.
Miley Cyrus on the cover of Paper Magazine. Photo: Instagram
She's had serious relationships with women too, but unlike with male stars Liam Hemsworth, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Nick Jonas, "people never really looked at it, and I never brought it into the spotlight."
Cyrus talks about coming out to her mother about her feelings for women at the age of 14. "I remember telling her I admire women in a different way. And she asked me what that meant. And I said, I love them. I love them like I love boys," she says. "And it was so hard for her to understand. She didn't want me to be judged and she didn't want me to go to hell. But she believes in me more than she believes in any god. I just asked for her to accept me. And she has."
Her experience with queer identity – and the gratitude with which she recognises her privilege – has led her to passionately pursuing justice for homeless and vulnerable LGBT youth. On starting the Happy Hippie foundation, she tells Paper: "I can't drive by in my f--king Porsche and not f--king do something," she says. "I see it all day: people in their Bentleys and their Rolls and their Ubers, driving past these vets who have fought for our country, or these young women who have been raped."
The more we hear from Cyrus, the more clear it becomes that her social activism deserves respect. Her provocative behaviour and desire to engage in open dialogue on taboo topics comes from a deeper and more thoughtful place than merely the 'wild' teenage phase that we've come to expect from child stars trying to prove to the world that they're no longer pre-pubescent. It's about inclusivity, self-expression, being accountable, and setting an example. We can all twerk to that.