Demi Lovato announced on Wednesday (May 19) that they identify as nonbinary and will use they/them pronouns moving forward.
The singer shared more on their journey of “healing and self-reflective work” in a new episode for their podcast, 4D with Demi Lovato, today. “I feel that this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and am still discovering,” they said. The star also clarified that they’re still in the process of self-discovery: “I want to make it clear that I’m still learning and coming into myself, and I don’t claim to be an expert or a spokesperson.”
In the episode, Lovato discussed what their identity means to them and the importance of sharing their truth with gender-nonconforming performer, writer, and speaker ALOK. “There’s nothing more freeing for me than to be unattached to a role that society wants me to play,” Lovato said.
The “Cool for the Summer” singer revealed that such societal pressures might have been the cause of their overdose in 2018. “I feel like the reason why that happened was because I was ignoring my truth, and I was suppressing who I really am in order to please stylists, or team members, or this or that, or even fans that wanted me to be the sexy, feminine pop star in the leotard and look a certain way, you know?” they said. “I thought that was what I was supposed to be and now I just realize that it’s so much more important to live your truth than to ever suppress yourself because that’s the type of stuff that happens when you do.”
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As Lovato and ALOK addressed gender identity and expression, they discussed how a person dresses or looks externally doesn’t always reflect who they are inside.
“There might be a time when I want to wear a full wig. There might be a time where I want to dress completely femme-presenting and that doesn’t meant that in that moment, I’m identifying as a woman; it just means that that’s what I want to wear in that moment,” Lovato said. “And I want people to understand that just because I’m nonbinary, doesn’t meant I’m not going to dress the way I want.”
“Gender’s not about our appearance. It’s about who we are,” ALOK said.
Lovato said that “it would mean the world” if people referred to the singer with they/them pronouns, but understands if people mess up. “I will also be accepting if people slip and say her/she because I know that being in my position, it’s going to take a while for people to get used to. I just want them to be making the effort,” they said. “I think it’s important because I want to use these pronouns that feel right to me. I also just don’t want people to be so afraid of messing up that they don’t try to use them.”
As a global pop star, Lovato admitted that they considered what effects their coming out would have on their career and how the public would react to the news. But they realized, “I could leave my career today. I’m still going to identify as nonbinary tomorrow. For the first time in my life, I’m putting my well-being over my career.”
They added, “I can’t shove it down or suppress it any longer, or I’ll end up where I did a few years ago. And I never want to end up there again. So every day of my life, I’m going to do whatever I can to live my truth to the fullest and be as loud as I can with it so that other people feel comfortable living their truth as well.”
Listen to the full podcast episode below.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US