Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for OBB Media)

Demi Lovato kicked off the premiere episode of their new podcast, “4D with Demi Lovato,” with some big news: the singer and actor announced that they identify as non-binary.

“Over the past year and a half, I’ve been doing some healing and self-reflective work,” they stated at the top of the show. “And through this work, I’ve had the revelation that I identify as non-binary.”

Lovato went on to say that they are officially changing their pronouns to they/them — but if you’ve read this far you’ve probably picked up on that already! “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.”

The rest of the episode, which is available to stream wherever you get your podcasts, is devoted to a conversation about gender with writer and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon. The two friends met when singer Sam Smith, who came out as genderqueer in 2017, took Lovato to see Vaid-Menon perform. They parse the differences between terms like non-binary gender and gender non-conforming, discuss pronouns and some of the biggest misconceptions about the evolving conversation around gender expression.

“When people ask me what non-binary is,” Vaid-Menon says, “I can give you the definition: We are people who have existed for thousands of years, who actually experience ourselves outside of the idea of man or woman. But what I want you to understand is that it comes from a place of deep joy and healing, not from a place of doubt.”

Lovato is quick to acknowledge that they’re still learning about their self and doesn’t claim to be an expert on gender. But they point to their 2018 overdose as a turning point. “I was suppressing who I really am in order to please stylists or team member…or even fans who wanted me to be the sexy, feminine pop star in the leotard and look a certain way. I thought that was what I was supposed to be.”

Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for OBB Media)

“There’s nothing more freeing, for me, than to be unattached to a role that society wants me to play,” they continue. “I fully believe that gender is just another boundary that separates humanity from divine wisdom.”

Lovato frames the new insight about their gender in terms of healing. The 28-year-old has struggled publicly with addiction, self-harm and mental health issues. They also recently revealed that they were raped by one of their Disney Channel co-stars when they were 15. But they push back on the idea that coming out as non-binary is a career move or just another symptom of their struggle. “I could leave my career today,” they insist. “I’m still going to identify as non-binary tomorrow. For the first time in my life, I’m putting my well-being over my career. And that’s the difference in somebody, I guess doing something for attention…versus speaking your truth.”

thoughts?