JoJo Siwa, who rose to fame after being a contestant on the TV series "Dance Moms" and now has a billion-dollar brand, told kids at a recent LGBT awards show that they "can be in love with whoever you want to be in love with," after coming out earlier this year.
“I recently just came out as a part of the LGBTQ community. I have the best, most amazing, wonderful girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so so so happy and that is all that matters,” Siwa said last week while presenting an award to Elmo for Outstanding Children's Programming during the 32nd annual GLAAD Media Awards.
“I think it’s really cool now that kids all around the world who look up to me can now see that loving who you want to love is totally awesome. If you want to fall in love with a girl, if you want to fall in love with a boy, if you want to fall with somebody who is a they/them, or who is nonbinary, that is incredible. Love is awesome. You can be in love with whoever you want to be in love with, and it should be celebrated. And amazingly, now today in the world, it is.”
Despite having a girlfriend, Siwa doesn't identify as lesbian or gay and hasn't specified what part of the LGBT she identifies as, though she did say in a recent interview that she was "Ky-sexual" because of her love for her girlfriend, Kylie.
"I like queer. Technically, I would say that I am pansexual because that's how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human."
“I always believed that my person was just going to be my person,” she said last week. “And if that person happened to be a boy, great, and if that person happened to be a girl, great!”
"Right now, what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it’s OK. It’s awesome and the world is there for you,” she said. “There are so many people that are there for you. I know everyone’s situation is different and it might be harder for some people and it might be easier for some people to come out or be themselves. But I think coming out has this stigma around it — that it’s this really, really, really scary thing, but it’s not anymore. There are so many accepting and loving people out there that it’s OK.”
The trend of higher numbers of young people identifying as being among the LGBT acronym or some other non-heterosexual identity has shown up in recent survey data.
According to a Gallup poll that was released in February, one in six adults in Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2002 — identify as LGBT. Approximately 72% of them claim to be bisexual. Half of LGBT-identifying millennials surveyed said they are bisexual. Of all respondents surveyed, 3.3% did not say they were LGBT but identified as another non-heterosexual term like "queer" or "same-gender-loving."
The Gallup researchers noted that it's unknown whether the increase in younger people identifying as LGBT is a "true shift in sexual orientation" or "if it merely reflects a greater willingness of younger people to identify as LGBT."