Demi Lovato recently updated their pronouns to include "she" and "her" again – something experts say isn't all that uncommon.
The Grammy-nominated musician came out as nonbinary in May 2021, announcing they prefer others use they/them pronouns when referring to them. In a “Spout Podcast” interview released Aug. 2, Lovato explained her pronoun update.
"That's what they/them is about for me. Feeling human to your core. Recently, I’ve been feeling more feminine, so I’ve adopted she/her again,” Lovato said.
Experts say Lovato updating her pronouns is typical – and should remind us that gender identity is fluid and can change over time.
What Demi Lovato updating pronouns does for LGBTQ visibility
Lovato's pronouns on Instagram now read "they/them/she/her."
Moe Brown, a therapist from Atlanta who specializes in working with transgender, nonbinary and genderqueer people, says they are appreciative of Lovato opening up about her gender expression, as it brings attention to the fluidity of pronouns. Brown uses both they/them and he/him pronouns.
When celebrities share their experiences as genderqueer, it increases visibility for other people whose gender identity isn't exclusively male or female, Brown says.
"Being visible as a celebrity really matters to people who might feel invisible in spaces, and sometimes those public figures create some type of normalcy around these identities," Brown says.
Why people change pronouns more than once
Brown says it's a very human thing for humans to change and evolve and preferred pronouns are no exception.
"We all live in a world where we're expected to be something from the time we were born," Brown says. "And then we get this opportunity in our 20s, to start exploring that we're probably not going to hit the nail on the head right away. I certainly didn't."
Francisco Galarte, an assistant professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at the University of New Mexico, says someone experimenting with pronouns is often making use of the vocabulary that's out there to describe how they might be experiencing their gender presentation.
If someone changes their mind about their pronouns, Galarte says that doesn't mean they consider them frivolous.
"To say that we're kind of locked into one pronoun doesn't necessarily do justice," Galarte says. "They're choosing to be honest about the fact that gender itself as a concept isn't something that sticks. It changes over our lifetime."
Why respecting pronoun changes is important
Brown says it's often challenging for transgender people to explore and feel authentic with their gender identity because they worry people will judge their lack of consistency.
"They're worried that if they say something today people will be like, 'Well, you said this today, you said that last week, but now you're changing,'" Brown says.
Garlarte says for one to claim keeping up with someone's pronoun changes is too confusing is an irrelevant argument.
That way of thinking illustrates the hold and the value placed into categories of binary gender and signifiers like masculinity and femininity, Garlarte says:
"If it confuses you, to use 'they/them' instead of 'he' or 'she,' then that really means you're questioning the categories of 'he/him' and 'she/her' and what they actually mean."
Teresa Thompson, a psychotherapist and clinical social worker from New York with expertise on LGBTQ issues, says that when someone shares their pronouns with you, they're sharing something important about themselves and their experience.
"It's part of being a good friend, it's part of being a good, healthy community to respect the information that people share with you and to use it accordingly," Thompson says.
Brown says one's gender identity and pronouns aren't the same thing. Identifying as a man doesn't necessarily mean someone's pronouns are only "he/him," and identifying as nonbinary doesn't mean your pronouns have to be "they/them."
"I associate them (pronouns) more as names, actually," Brown says. "So someone can have a range of gender expressions and still use the pronouns that feel best for them. I like to encourage people to really hear what someone is saying feels good for them to be called, what they like to answer to and separate it from even our understandings of how they identify."
Thompson says gender identity is complex, as it describes how someone moves through the world, relates to others and expresses themselves:
"People who are using multiple pronouns these days are showing that gender is more complicated than one thing or one word."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Demi Lovato tweaked her pronouns again. Why that's more than OK.