The pop star, 22, collaborated with the photo-sharing platform on the Happy Hippie Presents #InstaPride project, a portrait series to increase awareness and acceptance of people across the gender spectrum.
“The portraits and the people in them are meant to serve as positive examples for young people who might be struggling to figure themselves out, as well as reference points for those who might not personally know anyone who doesn t feel at home in their own body,” Cyrus told Time.
“People are not living their lives because people are telling them what to be I can stand on a stage with my t– out,” Cyrus said. “It’s so unfair that I’m allowed to be like this and there are two men that can’t get married in f—— Nashville right now.”
On Monday, Cyrus debuted the first photos from the campaign, featuring Leo, a 19-year-old college student from Michigan. The photo captions also incorporate quotes from the subject about their personal experience opening up about their gender identities.
“I have a lot of different identities. I’m a writer, a filmmaker in the works, a sometimes photographer, a good public speaker, a social media junkie, a Gleek, a feminist, an activist, a movie buff, a dutiful Netflix fan. The list goes on and on. As for my gender, I identify as a trans man,” Leo is quoted saying in one of Cyrus’ Instagram shots.
The photos also incorporate the color yellow to represent happiness. The color, Cyrus explained to Time, is happy and not sexualized, as opposed to pink or blue. (She sported a yellow jumpsuit and feathery boa during the photo shoot.)
The project will feature about a dozen subjects, whose photos will live on Instagram and have the #InstaPride hashtag.
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“Anyone should be able to express how they feel, without question, and be able to live,” Cyrus said. “And use the f—— public restrooms in places like Indianapolis, you can tell someone that if they’re trans or gay they can’t use your public bathroom no matter what I’d do, I’d probably be allowed to go in there.”
“And these people are real people. I don’t want to be anywhere they can’t be,” Cyrus said.
The singer-songwriter launched the Happy Hippie Foundation earlier this year. It is a nonprofit focused on helping homeless and LGBT youth.