elle- Demi Lovato joined Jane Fonda for one of Fonda’s Fire Drill Friday talks, where they shared their May 2021 decision to come out as nonbinary. Fonda asked Lovato to share their thoughts about their gender journey and how they think “patriarchy affects society.” Fonda, a longtime activist, shared that gender issues (“you have to be popular, you have to be thin, you can’t be too angry, all that destructive shit”) have always been a big hurdle for her, too.
Lovato got a smile on their face and answered:
“If I had listened to the patriarchy, my life would have never changed, my gender, my pronouns would have never changed. I would have probably been married to a man, with kids, doing the thing that I was raised to believe that I should do. Growing up in Dallas, Texas, in the South, being Christian, there was a lot of norms that were already pushed on to me when it came to sexuality and gender, and I’m a very fluid person. I’m a very free-spirited, open person, so when it comes to gender for me, I started realizing that if I look back at my life, there’s been times when I felt more masculine, and then there’s been times that I felt more feminine. I’ve always been a lover towards everyone. I’ve been attracted to everyone for as long as I can remember. So there’s been moments in my life that have been very confusing to me, you know being 10 years old, attracted to women and not knowing what that meant as a Christian and being raised in the South where that’s not very…you know, it’s harder there. I realized after years of living my life for other people, trying to make myself smaller for the patriarchy. Because the patriarchy, they run the industry. They are the center of everything, and so when I realized that I thought, ‘What are the ways that the patriarchy has been holding me back?’
And for me it was putting me in a box, telling me that ‘you are a female, this is what you are supposed to like, this is what you are supposed to do, don’t dream bigger and don’t speak louder.’
That didn’t vibe for me, because I am too outspoken for that. So, when I had a near-death experience in 2018 after a drug overdose, I realized I had to wake up and start living my life for me. No matter what man thought I should…no matter what choices men thought that I should make for myself, I just started listening to me, which I needed up finding out was equal parts masculine and feminine and so when I stripped 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.”
You can watch the full interview here:
Lovato also shared with Fonda that they felt that since their career began 13 years ago, they have seen their young fans get more and more bold in their activism, especially around climate change and other issues that will and do greatly affect their generation.
On May 19, Lovato posted the following on their Instagram, alongside a video:
“Every day we wake up, we are given another opportunity and chance to be who we want and wish to be. I’ve spent the majority of my life growing in front of all of you… you’ve seen the good, the bad, and everything in between. Not only has my life been a journey for myself, I was also living for those on the other side of the cameras. 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 💖 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. Sharing this with you now opens another level of vulnerability for me. I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones. Please keep living in your truths and know I am sending so much love your way xox”