Bella Ramsey explains the reason that they resisted calling themself “nonbinary”

Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us
Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us Photo: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Bella Ramsey has opened up about what it has been like for them since coming out as nonbinary earlier this year, as well as what they describe as their “ever evolving” sexuality.

In a new profile in the July issue of British Vogue, the 19-year-old star of The Last of Us discusses becoming more confident in asserting their identity. “Although I was confident on set, I was very shy everywhere else,” Ramsey said, adding that they were initially hesitant to embrace the term “nonbinary.”

“I’ve fought that word for so long,” they said. “I didn’t want people to think I was just trying to be trendy.” But in the months since first discussing their gender fluidity in a January New York Times interview, that’s all changed. “It’s a very succinct way to describe to people who I am.”

Back in January, Ramsey told the Times that while they didn’t particularly enjoy being gendered, “in terms of pronouns, I really couldn’t care less.”

“I had a lot of anxiety around pronouns,” they admit to Vogue. “When The Last of Us first came out, I was like, ‘Everyone just call me “she” because I look like a “she” to you, so it’s fine.’ But now I’m able to vocalize it more, being called ‘they’ is the most truthful thing for me. That’s who I am the most.”

Last month, they told Vanity Fair that despite submitting themself for Emmys consideration in the “Best Actress” category, they remain “uncomfortable” with the idea of gendered awards.

“I don’t want the limitations in terms of the language in the categories to be a reason that nonbinary actors like me can’t be celebrated,” they said. “And it can open up a conversation about how it feels—as long as I’m aware of the fact that it’s not ideal, but also that finding alternatives is really complex.”

“For [nonbinary and nonconforming people] to have a say and be part of those discussions and those conversations, that’s really important,” Ramsey continued. “I just hope there’s more space for nonbinary people to be recognized within [future] categories.”

Ramsey also tells Vogue about their decision to wear a chest binder in their role as queer teen Ellie in The Last of Us. “The costume supervisor would put several different undergarments in my room: a regular bra, a binder, a sports bra,” they recalled. “She’d say, ‘You just pick whatever is most comfortable for you today,’ and in the end it was just a binder. There was never anyone pressuring me.”

And while they declined to discuss their romantic life in detail, Ramsey got refreshingly candid about their sexuality. “You never fully know who you are, it’s ever evolving,” they said. “But I certainly think that people have gathered that I’m not 100 per cent straight. I’m a little bit wavy, you know? That’s what I like to say.”

Ramsey also said they feel supported and uplifted by the LGBTQ+ community—which they describe as “my community.”  

“I feel very protected, and I couldn’t be more grateful,” they said.

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