Demi Lovato revealed that they are nonbinary and will use the pronouns they/them moving forward. The singer shared the news with their fans in the debut episode of their new podcast "4D with Demi Lovato."
In the episode, Lovato shared the mic with Alok Vaid-Menon, a writer and performance artist who spoke about their experience growing up as a non-binary person and experiencing shame. Toward the beginning of the episode, Vaid-Menon explained the difference between non-binary and gender non-conforming for any listener who might be wondering, "what does non-binary mean?" Non-binary means someone is "not exclusively a man or a woman," (as it relates to their gender identity) while someone who's gender non-conforming will "visibly defy society's ideas of what a man or woman should look like" (as it pertains to how they express their gender), they explained. (Related: What It Really Means to Be Gender Fluid or Identify As Non-Binary)
Lovato revealed that, like Vaid-Menon, they'd also dealt with shame, which led them to suppress their true gender identity to this point. "In 2018, when I overdosed, I feel like the reason why that happened was because I was ignoring my truth," they said. "And I was suppressing who I really am in order to please stylists, or team members, or this or that, or even fans that 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 and now I just realize it's so much more important to live your truth because that's the type of stuff that happens when you do." (Related: Demi Lovato Broke Her Silence After Overdose, Hospitalization: 'I Will Keep Fighting')
Lovato revealed that now that they're embracing their gender identity, they feel like a weight's been lifted, so to speak. "There's nothing more freeing for me than to be unattached to a role that society wants me to play," they said. "I fully believe that gender is just another boundary that separates humanity from divine wisdom."
Then the conversation shifted to Lovato's outlook on the implications of sharing their announcement, particularly as a highly-scrutinized public figure. "I have to have compassion for anybody that doesn't want to experience my truth because of what it might stir up for them," said Lovato, noting that a few years ago they hadn't felt comfortable being with a woman even though they had feelings for one. "And I look back at that time and I understand now that I wasn't ready and that's ok," they said. "So it makes me feel compassion for the people who aren't ready. But at the same time I never once was hateful toward anyone who was ready, and I think that's where we need to change." ICYMI, Lovato revealed that they are pansexual in an interview on "The Joe Rogan Podcast" earlier this year. People who are pansexual are attracted to people of every sexual orientation, gender identity, gender presentation, or sex. (See: What Does It Mean to Be Pansexual?)
Vaid-Menon predicted that Lovato will receive "ruthless" backlash. "They're going to say 'Demi, you're doing this because you must be overdosing again,' or 'you must be on drugs' or 'your brain must not be correct,' or they're going to say 'you're seeking attention and you're trying to do this for your career.'" (Related: An LGBTQ+ Glossary of Gender and Sexuality Definitions Everyone Should Know)
Lovato gave a preemptive response to those who will say any of the above. "For the first time in my life, I'm putting my wellbeing over my career," they said, adding that they never want to go back to suppressing their true self. "Every day of my life I'm going to do everything I can to live my life to the fullest, and be as loud as I can with it so that other people can feel comfortable living their truth as well."