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Demi Lovato is sorry not sorry to be breaking the mold for nonbinary representation in music.
The singer, who uses they/them pronouns, commemorated International Nonbinary People’s Day on Tuesday, a day early, by giving followers a heartfelt lesson on pronouns and the importance of respecting people’s true expression.
In a repost from activist Matt Bernstein, Lovato shared a carousel of slides defining the term nonbinary, explaining that it is not an aesthetic nor a trend and that just because someone identifies as nonbinary doesn’t mean they use “them/them” pronouns.
“Non-binary people deserve the right to exist without constantly explaining, justifying, and proving that they are real to people who refuse to accept that gender as we know it is changing,” the last slide reads.
Lovato followed up the post with a personal note about their own experience with being misgendered — including with themself.
“If you misgender me — that’s okay,” the singer wrote. “I accidentally misgender myself sometimes! It’s a huge transition to change the pronouns I’ve used for myself my entire life. And it’s difficult to remember sometimes!”
They continued, “As long as you keep trying to respect my truth, and as long as I remember my truth, that shift will come naturally. I’m just grateful for your effort in trying to remember what means so much to my healing process.”
“I felt the need to post this because I often find that the change in pronouns can be confusing for some, and difficult to remember for others,” they captioned the post. “It’s all about your intention. It’s important to me that you try, but if you make a mistake, it’s okay. Remember that I love you, and to keep going.”
Last month, Lizzo, 33, went viral for correcting a paparazzo who had misgendered Lovato.
“Demi goes by ‘they’” - Lizzo corrects a paparazzi after they misgendered Demi pic.twitter.com/p9PVff08PL
— Demi Lovato News (@justcatchmedemi) July 1, 2021
"Do you have a message for Demi? Should she reach out?" the cameraman asked, to which Lizzo responded with Lovato's preferred pronouns and said, "They."
“Demi goes by they,” Lizzo retorted. Lovato later thanked her on social media, calling Lizzo a “queen” while adding, “I love you, thank you.”
Since the singer came out as nonbinary, an umbrella term for gender identities that exist outside the binary (neither male or female), they have opened a wider dialogue in the music industry about inclusion.
“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,” the singer wrote on their coming out post in May 2021.
“This has come after a lot of healing and self-reflective work. I’m still learning and coming into myself, and I don’t claim to be an expert or a spokesperson.”
The singer has spearheaded conversations around respect and expression, which have brought A-listers like Jane Fonda to tears.
In an interview with Audacy Check In last month, Lovato explained that “after a year and a half of exploration, I realized it was time to let the world know that it feels weird to me when I get called a ‘she’ or a ‘her.’ I understand that people might have a hard time adjusting to it because it is something new, but I want to encourage people to keep trying and that I understand that it’s a process to get used to.”
“I feel like I now have two families,” they added. “I have my blood relatives and then I have my queer family, and that family to me is the chosen family.”
During YouTube Pride 2021 in June, the singer also revealed that they had come out to loved ones and friends last year before deciding to go public in May.
"I felt it was really important for me to share that with the world," they explained. "I've been so open and honest with my truth to my fans. I felt holding it in any longer just didn't feel right, and I wanted to share that — my truth — with the world."
In fact, more young people are identifying as nonbinary than ever.
New research released on Monday by the Trevor Project found that over one in four (26 percent) of LGBTQ youth identified as nonbinary. An additional 20 percent said they are not sure or are questioning whether they identify as nonbinary.
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