In a recent appearance on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook series Red Table Talk, Janelle Monáe confirmed that they are non-binary. The multi-talented artist has never followed a traditional path in their work, and now they’ve decided to share more about how they relate to gender. They aren’t alone; a number of Hollywood stars have come out as nonbinary in recent years.
Who is Janelle Monáe?
As an artist, Monáe isn’t easy to categorize. According to IMDb, they’ve made their mark as a musician, songwriter, actor, and model. They’ve recently added to this list of accomplishments by writing a book in collaboration with other writers: The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.
As publisher Harper Collins explains, The Memory Librarian is a collection of short stories set in an Afrofuturistic world and explores “how different threads of liberation — queerness, race, gender plurality and love — become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape … and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.”
Monáe started out in music, releasing their first album, The Arch Android, in 2010. They have earned eight Grammy nominations for their music so far. In 2016, they transitioned into acting, appearing in two movies, Moonlight and Hidden Figures. Both movies received Oscar nominations for Best Picture. Moonlight took home the prestigious award.
The multi-hyphenate creative has followed an unusual path in their career — and it turns out that isn’t the only nonconforming thing about them.
‘I am everything,’ saysJanelle Monáe
Recently, Monáe appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook series Red Table Talk. As Insider reports, they took the opportunity to clarify something about who they are.
“I’m non-binary,” Monáe explained. “So, I just don’t see myself as a woman or — solely. You know, I feel all of my energy.”
Monáe has shared in the past that they are pansexual, and they’ve hinted about being non-binary. In 2020, they shared a tweet with the hashtag #IAmNonbinary. But this conversation with Pinkett Smith served as the first time they openly discussed identifying as non-binary and what that means to them.
“I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she,’” Monáe said, “If I am from God, I am everything.”
They have stated that their pronouns are they/them and she/her.
Other Hollywood stars who are non-binary
More people are exploring their gender identity outside of a strict binary definition. Some celebrities have opted to take this journey public, letting fans know how they feel and what pronouns they prefer. Here are just a few of them:
- Sam Smith has said, “I’m not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between.” Smith uses they/them pronouns.
- Demi Lovato also uses they/them pronouns, which they say “has come after a lot of healing & self-reflective work.”
- Jonathon Van Ness, from Netflix’s Queer Eye, identifies as gender nonconforming, but he is comfortable with using he/his pronouns.
- Ruby Rose has stated that she is neither male nor female, but she uses she/her pronouns.
- Tommy Dorfman uses they/them pronouns and explains, “Physically, biologically I am male, and I’ve never wanted to change that. Yet inside, I am considerably more female.”
Clearly, each person’s experience is unique, no matter their gender identity. As it becomes more socially acceptable for people to explore what gender means to them, the only way to understand what it means to be non-binary is to listen with respect.
Stars like Monáe are opening up about how they relate to gender, painting a bigger picture for everyone to see.
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