Credit: Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images Photo: Shay Mitchell Makes Pink Sexy at the 2011 CNN Heroes Awards

We adore Shay Mitchell for many reasons — she’s gorgeous, she has a cool, tough-girl sense of style, and her Pretty Little Liars character Emily has finally grown a pair in the second half of Season 2 — but one of Shay’s favorite new fan groups came about thanks to Emily’s sexuality on the show.

In a new interview with Canada’s Fashion Magazine, Shay describes what it’s like to be, essentially, a gay icon. “I was out for dinner last night and this girl came up to me in the washroom and said, ‘Hey, I just want to tell you you’ve done a lot for the lesbian and gay community, and I think your character is amazing, and [so is] the way they’re handling it,’” she says.

And it’s not just the mere presence of a lesbian teenager on basic cable that inspires people — it’s the way the writers and producers have decided to portray Emily and her relationships with other girls. Shay says, “People are like, ‘Oh, my gosh, they show you kissing on ABC Family!’ I’m like, ‘Yes, but if it was a heterosexual relationship, would they probably be kissing at this age? Yes. Would they be showing it on TV? Yes. So why shouldn’t my character be doing the exact same thing?’”

We completely agree with Shay. It would be downright weird if the show had the same hot ‘n’ heavy kissing scenes with Ezria as they do now, but no kissing scenes with Emily and Maya (Bianca Lawson).

So now we have yet another reason to adore Shay.

Source: Fashion Magazine

Catch PLL Season 2, Episode 15: “A Hot Piece of ‘A’” tonight, January 9 at 8pm ET/PT on ABC Family.

Get your Pretty Little Liars fix: Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and Tumblr!