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Demi Lovato is reflecting on coming out as non-binary and their overall journey to self-exploration.
While sitting down for a discussion at the 19th Represents Summit on Thursday, the singer, who came out as non-binary earlier this year and shared they use they/them pronouns, opened up about first questioning their gender and sexuality as early as the fourth or fifth grade. Lovato also recalled altering their appearance to reflect an image they “didn’t totally always identify with.” They said they “started dressing more masculine” while also competing in feminine beauty pageants.
“I realized, ‘oh, I’m not that girly,’ and it wasn’t until I went to middle school that I completely changed my image and my branding to make myself more digestible for people in middle school, because I just had a sense that they weren’t going to be as friendly as they were in elementary school. And sure enough, I was right,” they shared.
Lovato added that this mindset stuck with them for a long time. “That was the catalyst to the rest of my life, living in this hyper feminine state that I didn’t totally always identify with.”
As a teenager, Lovato became one of the faces of Disney Channel as the star of Camp Rock and Sonny with a Chance. They said they find it “hard” to look at red carpet pictures from those teenage days and events as recent as a couple of years ago. They explained, “I feel like I’m not looking at me, but I recognize that that was a part of my journey.”
The Demi Lovato Show host admits that despite now identifying as non-binary, their journey is ongoing. “There might be a time where I identify as trans,” they said. “Or maybe there’s a period of time when I get older that I identify as a woman, I don’t know what that looks like, but for me, in this moment right now, this is how I identify.”
Last year brought multiple changes in Lovato’s life. Before coming out as non-binary, Lovato became engaged to actor Max Ehrich in July. Two months later, the couple ended their engagement. Lovato discussed the relationship in an episode of their Dancing With the Devil docuseries, saying they “rushed into something that I thought was what I was supposed to do.”
Reflecting on the relationship a year later at the 19th Represents Summit, Lovato said they ignored “all the parts of myself that I didn’t think were digestible for my partner at the time.” They continued, “In hindsight, the dissolvement of that relationship was actually probably the best thing that’s happened to me, because of what that led inside of myself.”
After they separated, Lovato then began to share their gender identity with friends and family. They said the moment was an ending to “all things that had held me back from identifying as the person I do today.”
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