Demi Lovato has had a whirlwind of major news the past year and has added another big surprise to the list after coming out as non-binary.
In a moving video posted to Instagram, Demi shared the news with fans, saying in the post that the pronouns to address or refer to the singer will be they/them from here forward. Demi asked that their wishes be respected and encouraged others to speak their truths as well.
What is non-binary?
The statement by Demi made headlines quickly and many fans are now curious to know more about what it means to identify as non-binary. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the definition of non-binary is someone who does not identify with the male or female attributes associated with the two genders.
The website clarified that a non-binary identifying person may have a blended sense of gender, feeling like they possess a combination of components that go along with being a man or a woman.
A non-binary identifying person may also feel that they do not relate to either gender in any way and are simply a human being, or a person who identifies as non-binary at one time in their life may change later on.
What does it mean to identify as non-binary, and are non-binary people transgender?
The National Center for Transgender Equality website also went on to help shed some light on questions that people may have about a non-binary identifying person.
The site hit upon four key points when learning about what it means to be non-binary, saying first that being non-binary is nothing new and doesn’t mean the person is temporarily confused about their gender or that they are following a fad.
Non-binary people have been recognized around the world for thousands of years, with a study even coming out about the recognition of non-binary humans as far back as 3,000 years ago in Iran.
The second point made by the site is that while non-binary people may choose to undergo surgery in order to feel more fulfilled and true to themselves and their personal identity, not all non-binary people need surgery to feel at ease with themselves.
Though, as the website points out, it is important to respect those that choose to have surgeries as it can be a life-or-death decision for many who do not identify with certain body parts they were born with.
The third point the site lists is to clarify that most transgender people do not identify as non-binary and thus should be treated as they desire to be addressed, which for most transgenders is either male or female.
Lastly, being non-binary is not the same as being intersex, which is when a person is born with certain genetics or anatomy that does not conform to the stereotypical definition of being male or female.
What other celebrities are non-binary?
While the word non-binary may still be new to some, there have been many other celebrities who have come out as non-binary over the years and have helped advocate for those identifying as such.
Singer Sam Smith came out as non-binary in an interview with The Sunday Times magazine in 2017, saying they had “spent a lifetime at war” with themselves over battling with gender identity and that they now “float somewhere in between” male and female.
Queer Eye’s Jonathon Van Ness spoke with Out magazine in 2019 about their non-binary status, saying they always felt misgendered growing up but never knew the word for it until years later.
Orange is the New Black star Ruby Rose also came out as gender-fluid, identifying mostly as non-binary but with more fluidity between the male and female genders than just being non-gender identifying.
Ruby garnered more than 50 million views after posting a short video to YouTube to express what it was like being a non-gender-conforming person in the world. As told in an interview with The Guardian, Ruby said the video was “intended to be therapeutic” and it was obviously “very autobiographical.”
As the dust continues to settle over Demi Lovato’s brave revelation, it brings hope to more non-binary people for a continuation of understanding and acceptance.
Demi has a documentary out with Netflix called Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, which documents some of the most difficult and trying moments of her life and career.More: Demi Lovato