You’ve likely started to hear the term “nonbinary” more frequently. On Wednesday, Demi Lovato announced they were nonbinary and changed their pronouns to they/them.
“Nonbinary” refers to someone who does not identify only as a man or a woman, i.e. the traditional gender binary, according to the Human Rights Campaign. They could identify as both a man and a woman, in between the two genders or not a part of any gender category at all. GLAAD offers a similar definition.
Someone who is nonbinary may also be transgender – Elliot Page, for example, identifies as both – but that is not always the case. GLAAD recommends only calling someone nonbinary if they claim that identity themselves.
For more details: Demi Lovato comes out as nonbinary, changes pronouns to they/them
It has become increasingly common for some people who identify as nonbinary use a singular “they/them” pronoun.
Nonbinary also exists as a catch-all term for various gender identities.
“Nonbinary can also be used as an umbrella term encompassing identities such as agender, bigender, genderqueer or gender-fluid,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Demi Lovato announced Wednesday they were nonbinary and changed their pronouns to they/them. (Photo: Rich Fury, Getty Images for OBB Media)
Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things – meaning someone identifying as nonbinary has no bearing on to whom they are attracted.
The proliferation of the term comes as a record number of U.S. adults – 5.6% – identify as LGBTQ, an increase propelled by a younger generation staking out its presence in the world, a poll released in February shows.
The impact of coming out: Elliot Page came out as transgender. Here’s what that means for young trans people.
Other celebrities that identify as nonbinary include Sara Ramirez and Sam Smith.
Ramirez, a former “Grey’s Anatomy” star, said they were nonbinary in 2020 in an Instagram post.
Grammy-winning singer Sam Smith came out as nonbinary and genderqueer in 2019, sharing a few months later they use “they/them” pronouns after what the pop star called a “lifetime of being at war with my gender.”
Lovato’s coming out video was similarly empowering. “I feel this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and am still discovering,” they said.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff and Susan Miller
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