Hayley Kiyoko: Our Guide Through 20Gayteen

When thinking about women’s history month, we want to remember all kind of women. In choosing to talk about Hayley Kiyoko today, I want to spread awareness about the positive queer role model that I wish I had growing up. Whether you need a kickass song about girls loving girls or some gentle advice from someone who’s been through the struggle of living as a queer woman of color, Kiyoko’s got your back.

Hayley Kiyoko, who starred in Lemonade Mouth, made her transition from teen movie star to pop sensation. But it’s not the fact that she made it big that’s so important, it’s about the trueness to self and diversity that she has come to represent. Kiyoko’s breakout hit “Girls like Girls” (2015) was the depiction of same-sex relationships that were underrepresented in the music industry up until this point. Her singles were followed up by her debut album, “Expectations.”

Kiyoko’s success is an inspiration to the LGBT+ community as she hits each new benchmark in her career. To see such a confident queer woman of color slaying it, singing about her own truth, inspires the rest of us to be true to ourselves. With her win at the 2018 VMAs, Kiyoko’s acceptance speech included the statement that “This validates any queer woman of color.” She calls it like it is, embracing her true self and what she has overcome to gain the success she has today. And what better way to round out 20gayteen than with a win by one of our favorites?

Throughout this journey, Kiyoko has become a symbol of hope for the LGBT+ community, even becoming dubbed “lesbian Jesus.” From donating bras that were thrown at her on stage during her last tour to homeless women, to her involvement with the It Gets Better Project to support LGBT+ youth, Kiyoko has become the epitome of a positive, successful queer role model.

When thinking about women’s history month, Hayley Kiyoko is a woman to keep in mind. If there is anything that Kiyoko’s success proves, it’s that representation matters. We want to see a woman succeed. We want to see a queer woman succeed. We want to see a queer woman of color succeed. By watching Kiyoko, we can see hope for ourselves that we, too, can succeed. Remember, when you need a little love and inspiration, Kiyoko’s got your back. And for any struggling LGBTQIA+ readers, you can find help here.