Actor Shannon Purser has recently come out as bisexual on social media in an emotional post to her fans.
The 19-year-old teen star is currently starring as Ethel Muggs on Netflix’s Riverdale after her breakout role as the lovable Barb in Stranger Things.
Purser explains in her post that she has “only just recently come out as bisexual” to her family and friends.
“It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much,” Purser wrote.
“I’m very very new to the LGBT community.”
Purser says her public coming out was sparked by avid Riverdale fans who wanted to see characters Betty and Veronica get together on the show. Supporters who “ship” the fictional relationship are calling the pairing “Beronica.”
“Ships are great, being horrible to people who don’t ship your ship is not,” Purser tweeted.
In response to a fan who says Riverdale was “queerbaiting” and missed it’s chance to “open doors and do something groundbreaking” with a same-sex relationship, Purser said that representation is indeed powerful and important.
— Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) April 19, 2017
“But we didn’t write the show,” she wrote. “We have literally no say in what happens.”
“Lemme clarify, not angry at Beronica stans. Not even angry at rightfully upset Beronica stans. Disappointed with hateful people. Peace.”
Returning to Twitter hours later, Purser explained her frustration stemmed from not understanding her own sexuality and her faith.
“I have never hard the term ‘queerbaiting’ in my life until today. That being said, I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone and my tweet was thoughtless,” she wrote.
“I wasn’t referring to all the Beronica shippers, just the ones who had been particularly cruel to me personally. Either way, it wasn’t a wise or kind thing to say and I’m disappointed in myself, especially as a Christian who has always been taught to speak love to others.”
Purser has since maintained dialogue with her fans who are also trying to understand their sexuality, tweeting about her personal experience.
All that to say, you’re not alone. You’re in my prayers and, if you’re the praying kind, please keep me in yours. 💜
— Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) April 11, 2017