- These 13 Hollywood stars have opened up about rejecting the gender binary.
- “Stay With Me” singer Sam Smith, “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness, “Pose” star Indya Moore, and “Billions” star Asia Kate Dillon all identify as gender non-binary.
- To be gender non-binary means that a person feels like they don’t fit into a strictly “male” or “female” category.
- Others, like “Batwoman” star Ruby Rose, have embraced a more fluid, label-free approach.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A rising number of Hollywood stars are publicly embracing fluidity and challenging gender norms.
When a person identifies as non-binary, it means that they don’t conform to the gender stereotypes that come with being assigned “male” or “female” at birth. Other people prefer not to use labels, but fall somewhere within the gender spectrum. Many people with fluid gender identities also prefer to use more inclusive pronouns, such as “they” and “them.”
Here’s a list of 13 celebrities who don’t strictly identify as male or female.
Angélica Acevedo contributed to a previous version of this post.
Janelle Monáe came out as non-binary on Twitter.
“There is absolutely nothing better than living outside the gender binary,” the original Twitter user wrote.
In Monáe’s retweet, she added the hashtag “#IAmNonbinary” with the Saturn emoji. (Monáe did not clarify if her pronoun preferences have changed, but has previously used she/her).
Back in 2018, Monáe said that she identifies as pansexual.
Sam Smith is now using they/them pronouns “after a lifetime of being at war with my gender.”
In a 2017 interview with The Sunday Times, Smith said they feel “just as much woman as I am man.”
In a conversation with actress Jameela Jamil in March, Sam Smith talked about their gender identity as well as other topics relating to body image.
“I’m not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between,” Smith said during the interview, which was part of Jamil’s Instagram show “I Weigh Interviews.”
The Grammy-winning singer said they realised they were non-binary when they learned about the words “non-binary” and “genderqueer.”
Smith later took to Instagram to announce that they have officially decided to change their pronouns, despite understanding “there will be many mistakes and mis gendering.”
“After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out,” he wrote in a lengthy caption. “I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f— it!
“All I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now.”
Netflix star Brigette Lundy-Paine said they “always felt a lil bit boy, lil bit girl, lil bit neither.”
Lundy-Pain, who stars on Netflix’s “Atypical” and previously appeared in the 2017 film “The Glass Castle,” clarified their gender identity on Instagram.
“I’m non-binary, always felt a lil bit boy, lil bit girl, lil bit neither. using they/them as of late n it feels right,” Lundy-Pain wrote. “scary af to come out n been rly putting this off. But I feel I owe it to myself and to all of us who struggle w gender. If you’re NB comment and celebrate yourself! u r beautiful and u r whole.”
Jonathan Van Ness is “gender nonconforming.”
Van Ness stole the hearts of many when “Queer Eye” premiered on Netflix in 2018. Since then, he has become a beacon for self-love and self-expression, by unabashedly sharing his own journey of acceptance and making killer fashion statements on the red carpet.
In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Van Ness explained that the older he gets, the more he identifies as non-binary.
“I’m gender nonconforming,” he said. “Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman.”
He further explained how he came to this conclusion, stating, “I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to.”
Amandla Stenberg identifies as non-binary, but said she doesn’t need gender-neutral pronouns “to feel comfortable.”
Stenberg, who broke out as a young actor playing Rue in “The Hunger Games” and recently starred in the celebrated film “The Hate U Give,” first came out as non-binary with a Tumblr post in 2016. Stenberg, who also identifies as gay, wrote that she doesn’t feel like a woman all the time.
She subsequently shared that she’d like to begin using they/them pronouns, even as followers criticised her for it: “I’m allowed to explore myself and how I see myself in the world however the f— I want,” she wrote.
In 2018, Stenberg told the Washington Post that she realised she “didn’t need those pronouns to feel comfortable… And it felt almost detrimental to those who really did need them.”
Ruby Rose’s short film “Break Free” was an ode to gender fluidity.
In 2014, the Australian model and “Batwoman” star posted a five-minute video on YouTube, described as “a short film about gender roles, Trans, and what it is like to have an identity that deviates from the status quo.” It has since been viewed more than 50 million times.
“I put this video out that I really intended to be therapeutic for myself and was intended to be viewed by, you know, the hundred-or-so-thousand people that are on my Facebook,” she told the Guardian. “Obviously it’s very autobiographical.”
Rose went on to say that she spent her childhood “convinced” she was male, despite being assigned female at birth: “I used to pray to God that I wouldn’t get breasts,” she said.
Now, Rose embraces a more fluid identity. She uses feminine pronouns, but told the Guardian that she’s “neither” male nor female.
“I feel like I’m a boy, but I don’t feel like I should have been born with different parts of my body or anything like that,” she said. “I feel like it’s just all in how I dress and how I talk and how I look and feel, and that makes me happy… I really sit in a more neutral place, which I’m grateful for as well.”
Nico Tortorella is gender fluid and uses they/them pronouns.
Nico Tortorella, the breakout star of TV Land’s “Younger,” wrote about their approach to gender, sexuality, and monogamy in their 2019 book, “Space Between.”
Tortorella and their spouse, Bethany C. Meyers, are both gender fluid and their marriage is polyamorous.
“When Bethany and I met in 2006, I was a boy and she was a girl, whatever that means,” Tortorella wrote. “Today Bethany and I both identify as non-binary and prefer ‘they/them’ pronouns.”
Tortorella has also written about gender identity on Instagram.
“We are ALL multidimensional dynamic creatures and as much as I understand the spectrum, the less I believe in the binary of gender, the more liberated I myself am becoming,” they wrote in 2018.
Asia Kate Dillon asked for their “John Wick” character to be non-binary.
Asia Kate Dillon most recently appeared on the silver screen alongside Keanu Reeves in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.” In an interview with Insider, the actor revealed how they advocated to bring a bit of their own identity to their role as the Adjudicator in “John Wick.”
“[…] I just said to [director] Chad [Stahelski] and Keanu [Reeves], you have a real opportunity here,” Dillon said. “I’m a non-binary person. This character could be non-binary.”
Dillon added that they were all on board to include an aspect of gender diversity to an already diverse franchise.
“It was a real thrill for me to get to bring that to the table and have it be warmly received,” they said.
Dillon is also known for their role as Brandy Epps on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” and Taylor Mason on Showtime’s “Billions,” a character who’s also non-binary.
Tommy Dorfman said “biologically I am male … yet inside, I am considerably more female.”
You might remember Tommy Dorfman as the openly gay character, Ryan Shaver, on Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” but they also joined the cast of “Jane the Virgin” for its final season. The Atlanta native also starred alongside Tortorella in “Fluidity,” a 2019 film that follows the lives of 10 millennials residing in New York City.
The actor and writer told Out Magazine in 2017 that they have “had a lot of insecurities about being gay in this industry.”
That hasn’t stopped Dorfman from speaking candidly about their identity, though.
Last year, they wrote an essay for Teen Vogue about the complexities of wearing gendered clothing as a non-binary person.
“Physically, biologically I am male, and I’ve never wanted to change that,” Dorfman wrote. “Yet inside, I am considerably more female. My spirit is more female, this even my therapist could intuit.”
Bex Taylor-Klaus is trans non-binary.
Bex Taylor-Klaus has had quite a successful career in Hollywood so far, with roles in Netflix’s “Dumplin,'” and on AMC’s “The Killing,” The CW’s “Arrow,” and MTV’s “Scream” (to name a few).
In an interview and shoot with Autostraddle in 2018, the young actor spoke about their struggle to freely explore gender, both in our society and in the industry.
“In this day, exploring gender is taboo and stigmatised but to a lesser extent [than in the past], and it’s something that I’ve always been a little bit afraid of because my industry can be a little bit brutal,” Taylor-Klaus said.
The Atlanta native added that the shoot, which features them wearing various looks – such as a crop top with boots in one instance and a button down shirt with a tie in another – was a way to show that they can be a “chameleon.”
Just a month after that, Klaus tweeted that they did in fact identify as non-binary.
“I came out as trans non-binary in a room full of people today,” Klaus wrote in the tweet. “Guess it’s time for me to do that on here, too … Hi. I’m Bex, and the rumours are true. I’m v enby [non-binary].”
Indya Moore isn’t sure if people are ready to understand what “non-binary” means.
Moore was assigned male at birth. Although they began their career as a model, they broke into TV and films by playing background characters. Now, they play a trans woman named Angel on FX’s “Pose,” a trailblazing show about NYC’s legendary underground ballroom culture that began in the 1980s.
In a conversation with costar MJ Rodriguez for L’Officiel Magazine, Moore talked about why representation is mandatory, as well as identifying as non-binary.
“I’m non-binary but I don’t really talk about it that much,” they said. “I don’t feel like people really are there yet for understanding it, which I don’t mind, but I also acknowledge the way people see me as a woman.”
Moore has also clarified that they prefer they/them pronouns on Twitter: “I’m non binary, femme, Agender feels fitting too. My pronouns: they/them/theirs. I correct people often. At times they ignore me & I tolerate it to avoid conflict/irritation but it’s upsetting to feel like i’m ‘too much’ in a world that takes so much from trans people constantly.”
Lachlan Watson is one of the youngest non-binary actors in Hollywood.
Lachlan Watson is just one of the breakout stars of Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” who plays trans teen Theo Putnam.
In an interview with MTV News, the teenage actor opened up about their gender identity journey, describing it as a three-part opera. In Act 1, at 13 years old, Watson said that they identified as a cisgender lebian. For Act 2, they came out as trans.
Now, in Act 3, they identify as non-binary.
The North Carolina native also explained that they are in a constant struggle to not put themself inside of a box.
“That’s sort of why I call it ‘gender freedom’ as opposed to gender fluidity, because instead of fluctuating between two options or three options or four options, you’re just sort of free,” Watson said in the interview. “I’ve found it a really beautiful thing to just not limit myself as much as I used to.”
Liv Hewson would “love to play a non-binary person.”
Liv Hewson starred alongside Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant on Netflix’s dark comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet.” Although the show was cancelled in April after three seasons, the Aussie actor has a few projects in the works.
Hewson, who is also a playwright, spoke to A Beautiful Perspective last year about coming out as non-binary when they were 16.
“For a long time, though, I had no idea how I was going to be open about it professionally,” Hewson said. “For ages it seemed like a possibility so out of reach, it never really crossed my mind, because I felt like it was impossible.”
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