Non-binary musician Demi Lovato talked about how they came to understand their gender identity in a new interview. They also explained how their last relationship shaped their decision to come out and authentically be themselves.
“Being non-binary, what that means is that I’m so much more than the binary of man and woman,” they said to The 19th, “and that we are all so much more if we allow ourselves the ability to look within ourselves and challenge that binary that we’ve grown up living in.”
Lovato made the comments while delivering the keynote address for the fourth day of The 19th Summit, “Culture,” in conversation with LGBTQ reporter Kate Sosin.
Lovato explained that coming out was part of their “healing” from their previous relationship with actor Max Ehrich. Ehrich and Lovato were engaged until their relationship ended last September.
“I was very nervous in the beginning to come out as non-binary because I didn’t want people to think it was inauthentic,” they said. “I just wanted people to see what coming out as non-binary meant to my healing process.”
Of their relationship with Ehrich, Lovato explained later that being in the “straight relationship” caused them to try and suppress their authentic self.
“[I] met someone and I got into this straight relationship, and that was great, but that led me to ignoring all the parts of myself that I didn’t think were digestible for my partner at the time, who ended up becoming my fiancé.”
Lovato said after it ended, “I was able to stand on my own two feet without needing someone else to validate me or to make me feel accepted, and when I said goodbye to that relationship, I also said goodbye to everything that was holding me back from being my most authentic self.”
Lovato explained to Sosin why their understanding of their gender may evolve.
“There might be a time where I identify as trans,” Lovato explained, “there might be a time where I identify as non-binary and gender nonconforming my entire life. Or maybe there’s a period of time when I get older that I identify as a woman.
“I have a feeling that it’s not going to ever go back to one way or the other, but I just, it’s about keeping it open and free and just I’m a very fluid person, and so that goes with how I express myself as well,” they concluded.
In May, the singer came out as non-binary in a recorded video shared online.
“The past year and a half, I’ve been doing some healing and self-reflective work. And through this work, I’ve had this revelation that I identify as non-binary,” they said in the video. “With that said, I’ll officially be changing my pronouns to they/them.”
Lovato has identified as queer for years and earlier this year they came out as pansexual.
“I’m so fluid now — and a part of the reason why I am so fluid is because I was super closeted off,” they said at the time.
They have used their platform to advocate for LGBTQ equality and progressive politics in the past. In 2017, Lovato took the first transgender state lawmaker in the U.S. – Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (D) – to the American Music Awards, saying that Roem “put up with a lot of hate and bullshit by people who said she couldn’t win but she did.”