by Meredith Clark

2023 saw quite a few female celebrities entering queer relationships. My interview with The Independent shows why women are no longer apologizing for how, or whom, they choose to love.

In 2023, several female celebrities ended relationships with men and began dating women. This shift reflects a larger trend of women prioritizing their own happiness and exploring and embracing queer sexuality. Examples include Sophia Bush and Gabby Windey, both of whom found love with women after high-profile breakups with men. While some rumors circulate, like those surrounding Kyle Richards, the overall message is one of positive change and LGBTQ+ representation.

Susan Winter is a New York City-based relationship expert and the bestselling author of Older Women/Younger Men. According to Winter, women are giving themselves permission to take ownership of their sexuality. “I am noticing more and more that individuals are giving themselves permission to love the person who is loving them,” she told The Independent. “I find this a beautiful and fascinating observation because society now is becoming more flexible in its understanding of partner selection.”

Gabby Windey’s public announcement of her same-sex relationship sparked invasive questions and even shame for not realizing her sexuality sooner. This experience reflects a common struggle for LGBTQ+ people. Fortunately, Dr. Frankie Bashan highlights a shift towards greater societal acceptance, allowing people to embrace queer sexuality without fear and live authentically.

Windey’s story, along with other trends like celebrity breakups and hair color changes, illustrates the power of a few individuals to influence broader societal shifts. Just as a handful of celebrities can spark a new fashion trend, a growing number of women openly exploring their queer sexuality suggests a potential cultural shift towards greater LGBTQ+ acceptance.

According to Winter, “We look to public figures to broaden the parameters of what’s possible. They tend to be trendsetters and give the rest of us permission. But let’s be clear: women, whether publicly “out” or not, have been in same-sex relationships since the dawn of time.”

While some see an increase in celebrity same-sex relationships as a trend, Lena Peak, a social worker, warns against framing it this way. She argues it feeds into the dangerous idea that LGBTQ+ identities are a fad and should be hidden.

The surprise surrounding these relationships highlights societal discomfort with women who defy expectations. Both Bush and Windey fit conventional beauty standards and have histories of dating men. Peak argues this shouldn’t negate their current attractions. She also celebrates the move away from forced “coming out” narratives, emphasizing that LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t have to announce their identities publicly. Overall, these relationships offer hope for a future where LGBTQ+ identities are accepted without judgement.

If you want to read a more in-depth version of this article, you can read it at The Independent here.