Demi Lovato Comes Out as Non-Binary, Announces Pronoun Change
By Rachel McRady
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Demi Lovato is opening up about their identity. The 28-year-old pop star debuted their new podcast, 4D With Demi Lovato produced by OBB Sound, which dropped at midnight on Wednesday.
"I want to take this moment to share something very personal with you," Lovato said at the opening of the episode. "Over the past year and a half I've been doing some healing and self-reflective work and through this work, I've had the revelation that I identify as non-binary."
Lovato went on to share a change in pronouns, adding, "With that said, I'll officially be changing my pronouns to they/them. I feel that 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 am still discovering."
The performer added a disclaimer, noting, "I don't claim to be an expert or a spokesperson."
They also said, "I will also be accepting if people slip and say 'her/she' because I know that being in my position, it's going to take a while for people to get used to."
Lovato invited non binary performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon on their show, noting that one of Alok's poetry shows, which they attended with fellow non-binary musician Sam Smith, helped inspire Lovato's personal discovery.
"It was the first time in so long that I've ever heard someone else speak my truth and then realized, oh, that's my truth too," Lovato shared.
Vaid-Menon defined non-binary people on the podcast, saying, "We are people who have existed for thousands of years, who actually experience ourselves outside of the idea of man or woman."
Lovato also pointed out that their identity has nothing to do with how they choose to dress or "present."
"I want people to understand that just because I'm non-binary doesn't mean I'm not going to dress the way I want," Lovato said.
The singer, who has been an outspoken LGBTQIA+ advocate and ally for many years, is well aware of the backlash they will receive after this announcement. When Vaid-Menon pointed out that critics could claim Lovato was sharing this news for attention or to further their career, Lovato explained, "I could leave my career today. I'm still going to identify as non-binary tomorrow. For the first time in my life, I'm putting my well-being over my career. That's the difference in somebody doing something for attention versus seeking your truth. I know that not everybody's going to love that this is me and this is my truth. I know that some people are going to react out of fear."
Lovato, who has also been open about their struggles with addiction and substance abuse, said that the lack of authenticity in their identity led to their 2018 overdose.
"In 2018 when I overdosed, I feel like the reason why that happened was because I was ignoring my truth," the "Dancing With the Devil" singer shared. "I was suppressing who I really am in order to please stylists or team members or even fans who wanted me to be the sexy, feminine pop star in the leotard and look a certain way. I thought that was what I was supposed to be. Now I just realize it's so much more important to live your truth than to ever suppress yourself because that's the type of stuff that happens when you do."
Lovato also referenced their 2020 whirlwind engagement to actor Max Ehrich, which ended after two months.
"I got engaged to a dude and was like, 'OK, maybe this is it!' But it still didn't feel right," Lovato said. "I knew when things didn't work out, I knew why it didn't feel right. It's because I wasn't being myself."
Following Lovato's announcement, GLAAD released a statement supporting the star.
“Gender is not simply male or female. Non-binary people live outside of those rigid categories and they should be respected for who they are, which includes using the pronouns they tell us to use,” said Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent. “People identifying as non-binary is not new—and recognition and visibility of non-binary people has been growing. Demi has always been one of the loudest and proudest advocates for LGBTQ people and issues. In sharing their story today, they will educate countless people around the world and reach other non binary people with a message of pride.”
Back in March, Lovato opened up about identifying as pansexual. Pansexual is defined as not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
"I heard someone call the LGBTQIA+ community the alphabet mafia," Lovato said at the time. "That's it! That's what I'm going with."