How Miley Cyrus Effectively Became A Pioneer For LGBT Youth

Gender: What is it? How is it defined?

Who is one gender versus another, or are there more than two categories?

Take Ron Swanson: manliest man on television, complete with hobbies like wood-carving, hating the government and grooming a larger-than-life mustache, to boot.

He is the essence of man as we know it.

Ron knows and embraces his manly characteristics with a devotion comparable to his coworker, Leslie Knope, in her devotion to Pawnee.

On the other hand, we have Elle Woods: girliest girl in the movie world. Always completely clad in pink, she totes her chihuahua everywhere with her in her purse.

Her idea of therapy is a mani/pedi day spilling her guts to her stylist.

Like Swanson, she knows and embraces her womanly characteristics.

Then, we have Miley Cyrus. In her earlier years, she would have been described as a tomboyish girl.

Taking on boyish characteristics, but never straying from her feminine ones.

This manifested itself in her character as Hannah Montana.

On stage, she was much more feminine than she was off stage.

At school, she wore darker colors and loose clothing, but on stage, it was an eclectic mix of pinks, purples and heels.

Hannah Montana was effectively more feminine than Miley Cyrus.

Flash forward to today: Miley recently revealed in a Paper Magazine interview, "My gender identity is 'fluid' - I don't relate to being boy or girl."

While not completely out of Miley's current revelations, this was not a claim many people saw coming.

If Miley is now claiming to be neither "boy or girl," what exactly is she?

Is this a question that should have to be answered?

Many think no, there is no definite gender each person has to devote the rest of their life to.

Gender is constructed by our society, so no matter what an individual feels, the way of showing a particular preference will conform to some sort of pre-determined set of standards.

Which further means that due to the fact everyone is an individual, each gender will showcase itself in a multitude of ways, some of which will fall outside these norms.

With the even more recent exposure of Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner, gender is an ever-present force in our society today.

With this drastic amount of attention being focused on gender, one has to ask, what effects will this have on Generation-Y?

The answer, in its most basic form, is we are becoming more accepting and more open-minded each and every single day.

If these claims by Miley had presented themselves 20 years ago, she would have faced irreparable damage to her reputation, as well as a drastic decline in her followers.

In essence, she would have been shunned.

Today, Miley is thoroughly embraced. She faces a society of individuals who are overly accepting.

That being said, no one is without their haters, even if Miley can "forget the haters."

Miley hears the loud opinions of those who disapprove, usually more often that those who support her.

The growing acceptance of all divergent sexualities and genders has allowed many individuals to truly come into themselves and face the world as best they can.

While most do not have the privileges Miley's celebrity status give her, those who do not fit nicely into the norm of current society must face yet one more challenge.

Thankfully, the difficulty of that challenge has decreased significantly.

Miley has effectively become a pioneer for being true to yourself, no matter what others think.

She has dared go where no celebrity has gone in public before, from her support of the campaign, "Free the Nipple," to her support of homeless and LGBT teens through her nonprofit, Happy Hippie Foundation.

Her risks have effectively resulted in tremendous strides for gender acceptance and awareness.

The older generations of individuals who disapprove of the LGBT community are dying out, only to be replaced with more accepting and open ones.

I, for one, think we are changing for the better.

We will have a much happier generation in the present and are setting the groundwork for happier generations to come, pioneered by individuals like Miley Cyrus.