“Every day we wake up, we are given another opportunity and chance to be who we want and wish to be.”
More frequently than ever, celebrities are choosing to live their full truths in the public eye — including how they identify and express their gender.
These stars, like Demi Lovato and Sam Smith, have bravely opened up about who they are in the hopes that they can create a more accepting place for others who identify similarly — and breaking down boundaries just by being themselves and inspiring fans around the world to live freely.
Hear what these stars had to say about their journeys with gender identity …
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1. Demi Lovato
Earlier this year, Demi Lovato revealed that they are non-binary and officially changed their pronouns to they/them. Demi said the decision came after “a lot of healing & self-reflective work” over the past year which led them to believe that the change would “best represent the fluidity” they feel in their gender expression. They added that they hoped that their decision to share their truth would help others who aren’t able “to share who they truly are with their loved ones.”
“Every day we wake up, we are given another opportunity and chance to be who we want and wish to be. I’ve spent the majority of my life growing in front of all of you…You’ve seen the good, the bad, and everything in between. Not only has my life been a journey for myself, I was also living for those on the other side of the cameras. Today is a day I’m so happy to share more of my life with you all – I am proud to let you know that I identify as non-binary and will officially be changing my pronouns to they/them moving forward,” Demi wrote on Instagram.
Demi also recently shared that they didn’t mind if people misgendered them, as long as there was an effort to respect their truth.
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2. Sam Smith
Sam Smith has been open about their journey with gender identity, at first sharing that they identify as genderqueer. In an interview, Sam expressed that they feel as though they are “not male or female” but instead “float somewhere in between.” Later that year, Sam announced that they would be using they/them pronouns going forward.
“I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM. After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out. I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f**k it! I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now,” Sam wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.
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3. Jonathan Van Ness
Jonathan Van Ness has shared with fans that he identifies as “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” and although he prefers he/him pronouns, he does not identify as a “man.” He says that by living his truth, he hopes that he can help break down stereotypes and show young people that they can express themselves however they want.
“The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman…I think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it. I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to,” Jonathan told Out.
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4. Ruby Rose
Ruby Rose first came out in her 2014 short film, “Break Free,” where she can be seen cutting off her long blonde hair and removing her makeup. Ruby, who identifies as gender fluid, says she feels more comfortable presenting in a masculine way and her gender sits in a more neutral area.
“I feel like I’m neither, yeah…I feel like I’m a boy, but I don’t feel like I should’ve been born with different parts of my body or anything like that. I feel like it’s just all in how I dress and how I talk and how I look and feel, and that makes me happy,” Ruby told The Guardian after the release of the film.
Ruby later faced some backlash when she was cast in “Batwoman” to be the first lesbian superhero.
“But I’ve also gotten backlash,” Ruby told Entertainment Weekly. “And that’s when you realize you have to keep up with the terminology. When I got cast as a lesbian in Batwoman, I didn’t know that being a gender-fluid woman meant that I couldn’t be a lesbian because I’m not a woman — not considered lesbian enough.”
“My initial response was ‘Pfft!’ And then I was like, ‘Wait. Let me just figure this one out. How do I right this wrong, because if someone out there is upset by this, I need to know why and how to fix it.’ That’s when I sort of said, ‘I’m a woman that identifies as a woman. I’m not trans. But if being gender-fluid means that I can’t identify as a woman at any point, then I guess I can’t be that.’ Maybe I need to make up another term, one that doesn’t step on any toes. One where I can be fluid in my gender, but also a lesbian, because otherwise I’m not sure what I am.”
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5. Amandla Stenberg
“The Hate U Give” star Amandla Stenberg first revealed that she identifies as non-binary in a Tumblr post and later expressed that she might be interested in adopting gender-neutral pronouns. The comment resulted in fans and media quickly changing how they referred to Amandla, which made her realize that the change in pronouns wasn’t for her. She now uses she/her pronouns.
“[I] didn’t need those pronouns to feel comfortable…And it felt almost detrimental to those who really did need them,” Amandla later told The Washington Post.
Halsey recently revealed to fans that she would be using both she and they pronouns going forward. While both pronouns feel “authentic” to her, she says she’s happy for fans to use either one. And after opening up about her pronouns, Halsey candidly admitted that since becoming pregnant, her perception of gender has “leveled.”
“I’ve been thinking lots about my [pregnant] body. It’s strange to watch yourself change so quickly. I thought pregnancy would give me very strong, binary feelings about ‘womanhood’ but truly it has leveled my perception of gender entirely. My sensitivity to my body has made me hyper aware of my humanness and that’s all. Doing a remarkable thing. And it’s grand. I hope the feeling lasts,” Halsey wrote on Instagram.
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7. Lachlan Watson
“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” star Lachlan Watson is one of the youngest openly non-binary actors in Hollywood. Lachlan uses they/them pronouns and says that they believe that for them, gender is not finite.
“People think of gender as a finite and objective thing that starts here and it ends here, that you go from one place to another and it’s not that. For me, it just keeps going, it’s a continuing line. My gender identity does not relate to my sexual orientation, even remotely. I identify as both non-binary and pansexual which are two very fancy ways of saying, ‘I don’t care’ [laughs]. I see through you into your soul, like, ‘Do you understand me as a person? Can you give me what I need as a person, as a soul?’ That’s what’s important to me,” Lachlan said in the “What I Wish You Knew: About Being Nonbinary” documentary.
8. Indya Moore
Indya Moore, who played Angel on FX’s “Pose”, told L’Officiel Magazine: “I’m non-binary but I don’t really talk about it that much. I don’t feel like people really are there yet for understanding it, which I don’t mind, but I also acknowledge the way people see me as a woman.”
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9. Asia Kate Dillon
Asia Kate Dillon’s landmark role as Taylor Mason on “Billions” made history and waves across the industry. The actor previously said the role helped them understand themself.
“When I got to the script for ‘Billions’ and the character breakdown for Taylor Mason, the character that I play, said female and non-binary, a little light bulb went off in my head,” they told ABC News. “I did a little bit of research and discovered that female is an assigned sex and non-binary is in reference to gender identity and those are two different things. It finally helped me put language to a feeling that I’d had my entire life.”
“Sometimes you have to see the thing to know that it exists,” they continued. “Maybe there’s a queer person in a town but they don’t feel comfortable or safe coming out, frankly, and the only representation they feel that they have or connection they have is on television or in a movie, and that’s really powerful.”
10. Tommy Dorfman
“13 Reasons Why” star Tommy Dorfman has been out about their non-binary gender identity but hopes that one day people, especially those in the entertainment industry, will be celebrated “without limiting or tokenizing them for their differences.”
“Physically, biologically I am male, and I’ve never wanted to change that. Yet inside, I am considerably more female. My spirit is more female…As a kid I dreamed both as a boy and a girl. In the past few years, I’ve had the language to describe and eventually accept myself as nonbinary,” Tommy wrote in an essay for Teen Vogue.
11. Nico Tortorella
“Younger” star Nico Tortorella identifies as non-binary and in 2019, shared in their book “Space Between” that they prefer they/them pronouns. They are married to Bethany C. Meyers, who also identifies as non-binary.
“It’s no secret that my sexuality has been ever evolving, and quite recently my own gender identity and expression has been taking new flight…We are ALL multidimensional dynamic creatures and as much as I understand the spectrum, the less I believe in the binary of gender, the more liberated I myself am becoming,” Nico once wrote on Instagram.
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