Why can’t fans see Demi Lovato as nonbinary?

· Updated on March 14, 2024

Everyone’s favorite perennial discourse has once again reared its ugly head: questioning Demi Lovato’s gender identity.

The latest discourse stemmed from Demi Lovato’s latest red carpet look: a gorgeous black gown that she wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. When pictures of the outfit hit the internet, Lovato was immediately showered with praise from all directions — they look undeniably stunning.

But the nature of some of those compliments is where things went south. One viral post seemed to poke fun at Lovato’s gender while praising their appearance, saying, “Call her they/them the way she didn’t Ms.”

It’s a clever pun, but a bizarre choice of words considering Lovato’s journey with gender identity. The singer came out as nonbinary in 2021 and said they were using they/them pronouns moving forward. Then, in 2023, they re-adopted she/her pronouns in addition to they/them pronouns. Lovato said the choice came from frustration with always having to explain their pronouns to others.

“I constantly had to educate people and explain why I identified with those pronouns,” Lovato told GQ Hype Spain at the time, translated from Spanish to English by People. “It was absolutely exhausting. I just got tired. But for that very reason, I know that it is important to continue spreading the word.”

But using she/her pronouns doesn’t mean Lovato is no longer nonbinary. On Lovato’s Instagram, their pronouns are clearly listed as they/them/she/her, in that order.

That’s why that viral post hit a nerve: it implies that Lovato uses only she/her, and that referring to them with they/them pronouns would be a change from the norm. The X user who made the post, @havingextras, addressed the discourse they’d started in a reply, writing, “Wait I did not misgender that lady,” attaching a screenshot of an article about Lovato’s re-adoption of she/her pronouns. “Y’all can chillax.”

But that justification falls short, as other folks on the internet were quick to point out. “Y’all don’t see the problem with a nonbinary person having to re-adopt gendered pronouns because they’re exhausted from explaining themselves?” one user said in response.

Indeed, nonbinary celebrities have to continually assert their identities all the time. Singers like Kehlani and Janelle Monáe have gone on journeys similar to Lovato’s, frequently being questioned and having to explain their genders to a largely binary world. And of course, the challenges faced by celebrities are even harder for everyday nonbinary folks without the luxury of stardom and massive platforms.

Long story short, everyone’s journey with gender identity is different, and Lovato adding she/her pronouns doesn’t make them any less nonbinary.

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