Demi Lovato has been open about her journey of self-discovery and expression. The singer and actor came out as non-binary in June 2021 and announced that she would use “they/them” pronouns to reflect her fluid gender identity.
“I feel this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and still am discovering,” Lovato said in an Instagram video.
However, in August 2022, Lovato revealed that she added back “she/her” pronouns because she felt exhausted by explaining her identity to others. She said she constantly had to educate people and felt tired by it. She also said she wished for more gender-neutral spaces and options, as she felt uncomfortable with the binary choices of male and female in bathrooms and forms. She said she felt more feminine lately, but still identified as non-binary and fluid.
“Everyone messes up pronouns at some point, and especially when people are learning. It’s just all about respect,” Lovato said on the “Spout” podcast.
Lovato is not alone in her experience of being non-binary. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, “Some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female. Some people don’t identify with any gender. Some people’s gender changes over time.”
A 2019 Pew Research study found that one in five Americans knew someone who uses non-binary pronouns. A 2020 survey by the Trevor Project found that one-quarter of LGBTQ youths used non-binary pronouns, and 4 percent used neopronouns, which are a form of speech that stands in for a person or group of people without expressing gender, such as “ze/zir” or “fae/faer”, or a word that is drafted into use as a pronoun, such as “bun/bunself” or “vamp/vampself”.
Many celebrities have come out as non-binary or genderfluid, such as Jonathan Van Ness, Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Amandla Stenberg and Nico Tortorella, and they use different pronouns according to their preferences.
“The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place,” Van Ness said in an interview with Out.
“The words are so much more simple than what we are. I think in the fields of social justice, we have the tendency of getting hung up on the language or the movement, rather than the cause-and-effect and who we’re really talking about,” Tortorella said in an interview.
Non-binary identities are not a trend or an aesthetic, but a way of being authentic and true to oneself. As Lovato said, it’s all about respect and understanding.
– 17 Celebs With Nonbinary, Genderfluid Identities (And Their Pronouns), iHeart, June 23, 2021
– What Are Neopronouns?, The New York Times, April 8, 2021
– Beyond ‘he’ and ‘she’: 1 in 4 LGBTQ youths use nonbinary pronouns …, NBC News, July 30, 2020
– Demi Lovato ‘got tired’ of using ‘they/them’ pronouns: ‘It was absolutely exhausting’, Page Six, June 14, 2023