Last month, singer and actor Demi Lovato came out as nonbinary.
It is always a courageous act to come out, and this will be Demi’s first Pride month after sharing their gender with the world.
Ahead of this celebratory month, Demi spoke to Jane Fonda about their self-discovery.
And Demi realizes how easily they could have lived a different, less authentic life.
Demi Lovato joined the legendary Jane Fonder on the Fire Drill Fridays livestream.
“If I had listened to the patriarchy,” they expressed, “my life would have never changed.”
Grimly, they added “my pronouns would have never changed.”
“I probably would have been married to a man,” Demi suggested.
They added that they would be married “with kids.”
For many people, this is their dream. But for others, it’s simply presented as an obligation.
Demi shared that they would have been “doing the thing that I was raised to believe that I should do.”
Many people — including those who are cisgender and heterosexual, which Demi is neither — are pressured to live their lives in certain ways.
It is not uncommon for people to grow up assuming that they will be in a heterosexual marriage with children, because others assume it about them.
“After years of living my life for other people, trying to make myself smaller for the patriarchy,” Demi reflected.
Those who perpetuate patriarchal ideas about gender roles, sexuality, and family often hold positions of power.
“They run the industry,” they commented, “they are at the center of everything.”
“When I realized that, I thought, ‘What are the ways that the patriarchy has been holding me back?'” Demi shared.
“And for me, it was putting me in a box,” they explained.
That can happen to many — but especially to those in the LGBTQ+ community. People feel trapped in roles that aren’t for them.
Demi shared that people were “telling [me], ‘You are a female, this is what you’re supposed to like.'”
“‘this is what you’re supposed to do,'” they felt that people were telling them.
Demi was constantly under pressure to “‘don’t dream bigger and don’t speak louder.'”
“That didn’t vibe for me because I’m too outspoken for that,” they added.
Meanwhile, Demi realized that they didn’t want to live a lie just to meet others’ expectations.
And after hear nearly fatal overdose in 2018, they realized that it was a wake-up call.
“I feel like the reason why that happened was because I was ignoring my truth,” Demi expressed.
“And,” they added, “I was suppressing who I really am.”
Demi realized that they were doing this “in order to please stylists or team members or this or that.”
Demi continued: “or even fans that wanted me to be the sexy, feminine pop star.”
Some fans wanted to see them “in the leotard and look a certain way, you know?”
No more. Demi is who they are, and not a gender that someone else arbitrarily assigned to them at birth.
Many advocates for the trans community have noted that neither genitals nor chromosomes are as simple as many assumed as children.
But in part, this misses the point that many who do not fall under the gender binary are making.
Gender is an extremely complicated social construct.
Gender is not genitals. Gender is not genetics, either.
And most importantly, gender should not be assigned to people by others — based upon genitals or chromosomes or star signs.
Only Demi can decide who they are. We hope that they are enjoying this very special Pride Month.