Sophie Turner
photo: Getty Images

Actress Sophie Turner made a confession about her sexuality, and queer people took it and ran. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, she said that she's experimented (sexually/romantically, that is) with both men and women. She told the magazine, "I love a soul, not a gender.” 

People on Twitter took that as an admission that Turner is gay and jumped to all kinds of conclusions. But that kind of thought process is very harmful. Turner is only 23, and people are allowed to grow and change over time. She should be allowed to say that she's experimented with her sexuality at one point without it meaning anything else. People are calling her gay when she never labeled herself in the interview. It's no one else's place to do that for her. 

Actress Sophie Turner just gave an in-depth interview about her relationship with Joe Jonas.

Actress Sophie Turner opened up about her career and love life in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Alongside fellow Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, the pair discussed meeting way back in 2009 and becoming best friends. Turner talked about her love life with Jonas and how she never expected to get engaged. She said, “I was fully preparing myself to be single for the rest of my life."

She wasn't looking to get engaged at 23, but is confident she met the right person. She said she's experimented enough with guys and girls to know. 

Turner went on to say that "you just know" when you've met the right person. She said that she's "much older a soul than I am in age" and that she's experimented thoroughly in her life. 

"I feel like I’ve lived enough life to know. I’ve met enough guys to know — I’ve met enough girls to know," she told Rolling Stone. "I don’t feel 22. I feel like 27, 28.” As for the “girls” part: “Everyone experiments,” she says with a shrug. “It’s part of growing up. I love a soul, not a gender.”

Some people viewed Turner's experimentation statement as an admission of bisexuality. 

But was it really? I have my doubts. Turner didn't take the time here to admit to anything besides experimentation. And we don't even know what that experimentation entailed. She could have done anything from kissing another woman to having sex or anything in between, and that's none of our business anyway. Just because someone does something sexual once (or a few times) with a certain gender doesn't make them queer. All we know for a fact is that Turner has had romantic or sexual encounters with other women. 

Experimentation is a valid part of life all on its own. It doesn't mean that Turner is gay, as Twitter suggested.

Experimenting romantically is great, and it's probably the best kind of hands-on learning a person can do. Plenty of queer kids figure out who they are and have a better understanding of themselves as queer people. But straight people can do the same thing. They can be curious, too, and wonder what their feelings mean. If they experiment and come to the conclusion they're still straight that's completely OK! It's a natural part of life that doesn't define who you are.

I think this is a case of queer people simply wanting representation in popular media. 

Queer people are just starting to have a voice in mainstream media. So I think for many queer people such as myself, when someone says anything that just might sound a little bit gay, we take all we can from it. 

We're tired of looking at straight, cisgender (white, male, all of that) people in media and having to find ways to relate to them because they don't relate to us. Modern media has given queer people a chance to be a part of the mainstream without having to justify their existence. 

This conversation, on that note, would be completely different if we were talking about someone of a different gender or race.

Of course, there's still a stigma against bisexuality that would only be worse if Turner were a man or if a man had said they had experimented with other men. For a lot of people, men can't be bisexual; as soon as a man even thinks about another man in a romantic or sexual way, he's gay. That's a stigma that has haunted men for years, and it's not easier for men of color who also deal with racism and the societal expectations of their race from inside and outside their communities. 

We should be giving Turner the space for her to label her own sexuality. We shouldn't be doing it for her. 

We shouldn't be making assumptions about people or their sexualities. People are putting too much energy into what they want Turner to say or how they want to feel about it. Queer people need to take a step back sometimes and think about how these assumptions harm everyone. Queer people especially might literally not be the same people they were five or 10 years ago. Being judged on things you said you've done in the past isn't fun. 

In fact, Turner didn't even label herself. 

In the interview she said, "I love a soul, not a gender." People are saying she's gay for saying she's experimented with women, but this wording comes off very anti-label. What if she's just a person in this world trying to figure it all out? What if she doesn't feel like a label is even necessary? 

Maisie Williams has also been open about her sexuality. 

Maisie Williams said something similar to Turner about her own sexuality back in 2016. In an interview with Nylon, she said, "It's like what Shailene Woodley said: 'I fall in love with personalities and not people or genders.' I have no problem with anyone who would want to be labeled, but I also think that it is no one's business."

It's amazing how people can feel open and comfortable to talk about their sexuality, but we shouldn't take those conversations and turn them into defining labels.

The LGBTQ+ community has made big strides over the past few years. There's a long way for it to go, but there is a pride that can be taken in allowing people to be more open about something that has historically been used to hurt people. We just have to get rid of these ideas that people's pasts define them and they aren't allowed to evolve over time, and we'll be good.