Miley Cyrus is throwing herself in the trans acceptance movement once again, partnering up with Instagram to help non-cis people share their stories. The singer announced the #InstaPride hashtag on Monday (June 15) to get the conversation going.
"I’m launching #InstaPride today, in partnership with @Instagram, to share stories of transgender and gender expansive people from around the country," Cyrus wrote on Instagram, accompanying a photo of smiley-faced balloons -- a design that has become Miley's logo lately. "Over the next 2 weeks, you’ll meet them and the people in their lives who support them, as we highlight their stories of resilience."
The effort is also supported by her Happy Hippie Foundation, an organization that offers services to homeless and LGBT youth. Miley, who has been vocal about her own gender fluidity recently, invited different people around the country to take part in the project and served as the photographer for the Instagram portrait series.
The first story revealed on the #InstaPride hashtag is of Leo Sheng, a transgender man who has been transitioning for the past year an a half.
"For the past year and a half, my Instagram photos have been about my transition-filled life — graduating high school, starting college, making new connections," said Sheng, a 19-year-old film student living in Michigan. "But the most obvious theme has been my transition from female to male. For me, a picture really does say a thousand words."
Of his photoshoot with Miley, he wrote, "I can’t remember the last time I’ve been in a room with so much love, pride and respect for everyone’s journeys. I hope that my portrait can inspire those who have the ability to share their own stories to find their voices. If there’s anything that the last few years have taught me, it’s that living an unapologetic existence is the most freeing thing you can do."
"I spent so much of my life uncomfortable with who I was and afraid to move because I didn’t want to stand out any more than I already did," Leo said on Miley's Instagram. "This last year as I’ve been transitioning, there’ve been a lot of moments when I truly felt free to be myself: the moment I woke up from top surgery, the day the bandages came off, my first shot of testosterone. Sometimes, I’ll be out in public with my family or just hanging around with friends, and I remember that I’m no longer having to hide anything about who I am. I’m not afraid to move anymore and I know who I am. Everything about me right now is exactly as it should be."
Miley is just one of the many celebs taking part in the Pride events. Nick Jonas performed at Pittsburgh Pride this weekend, while Carly Rae Jepsen performed in D.C. Fifth Harmony and Kesha played at L.A. Pride.