Demi Lovato Says They Might Not Always Identify As Nonbinary

by Kristina Johnson
Emma McIntyre/Getty

“There might be a time where I identify as trans,” Lovato said.

Demi Lovato revealed they were nonbinary back in May, telling fans they preferred they/them pronouns. But despite that major step, Lovato says it wasn’t the end of their gender journey — and in fact, they are completely open to wherever that journey might take them next.

“There might be a time where I identify as trans…there might be a time where I identify as nonbinary and gender nonconforming my entire life. Or maybe there’s a period of time when I get older that I identify as a woman,” Lovato said while speaking at the 19th Represents Summit. “I have a feeling that it’s not going to ever go back to one way or the other, but… 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 explained (their interview starts around the 2:30 mark in the video below).

Lovato also talked about how scary it was to come out as nonbinary, and how they worried people would react. “I was very nervous in the beginning to come out as nonbinary because I didn’t want people to think it was inauthentic. I just wanted people to see what coming out as nonbinary meant to my healing process.” They also noted that “it didn’t just start a few months ago.”

They shared that they could recall questioning their gender as early as the fourth or fifth grade, but that as they hit middle school, they gradually began changing their image to “make myself more digestible.” Which is kind of heartbreaking, to think that even in middle school Lovato was forced to make that kind of calculation — that they couldn’t be their true self if they wanted to make friends. They said that moment affected them well into their adult life, leading them to adopt a “hyper-feminine” image that they “didn’t always identify with.”

That pattern continued into Lovato’s brief engagement to ex Max Ehrich. “When I said goodbye to that relationship, I also said goodbye to everything that was holding me back from being my most authentic self.” The two split in the fall of 2020, and by the end of the year, Lovato had begun sharing their non-binary identity with family and close friends — before opening up to the world this past May.

Demi also revealed that working on a song with fellow pop star Sam Smith — who also identifies as nonbinary — was also momentous. “I started asking them questions on being nonbinary and being gender nonconforming,” they explained. Smith introduced Lovato to nonbinary artist and writer Alok Vaid-Menon who helped Lovato under that for them, embracing their non-binary could be a healing experience.

“Being nonbinary, what that means…is that I’m so much more than the binary of man and woman. 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 explained.