Demi Lovato says the “patriarchy” and living their life “for other people” was ‘holding them back’ from coming out as non-binary sooner.
The “Sorry Not Sorry” sat down for an interview with legendary actor and activist Jane Fonda for her Fire Drill Fridays series with Greenpeace. The interview, published on Friday (28 May), touched on Lovato’s gender identity and coming out as non-binary on 19 May.
Lovato told Fonda that they discovered their gender identity after realising they didn’t fit into the “box” that the “patriarchy” was putting them in. They said: “If I had listened to the patriarchy, my life would have never changed, my gender, my pronouns would have never changed.”
Demi Lovato explained that there were many “norms” pushed onto them about what their sexuality and gender expression should be while they were growing up. But the pop star said they are a “very fluid person” and “free-spirited” so they didn’t feel like they fit those moulds placed upon them.
So Lovato said they began to accept their sexuality and gender identity after “years of living my life for other people” and “trying to make myself smaller for the patriarchy”. They added that this realisation came after a deep self-analysis about the influence of the patriarchy, who are “at the centre of everything”, on their identity.
“I thought ‘what are the ways that the patriarchy has been holding me back’?” Lovato said. “For me, it was putting me in a box, telling me that you are a female, this is what you’re supposed to like, this is what you’re supposed to do. Don’t dream bigger and don’t speak louder.”
But Lovato said “that didn’t vibe for me” because they are “too outspoken for that”. They said they realised they had to “wake up” and “start living my life for me” after their near-fatal overdose in 2018.
“No matter what choices men thought that I should make for myself, I just started listening to me, which I ended up finding out was equal parts masculine and feminine,” Demi Lovato said.
“So when I strip myself of the norms that society has pushed on me – specifically by the patriarchy – I have become the most complete and authentic version of myself that I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve never been happier.”
For those listening, Fonda defined the patriarchy as the “social paradigm for millennia since the beginning of agriculture”. She added: “It views the world as a hierarchy. Human beings are part of a hierarchy. White men are on the top, and then it goes down to women of colour at the bottom.
“And it’s the rule of the fathers, and it’s woven into every part of our lives and our culture and the institutions that govern our lives.”