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Gettyimages | Emma McIntyre

On Jan. 10, musician Janelle Monae, who uses the pronoun "they," came out as nonbinary as the topic was trending on Twitter. The hash tag #IAmNonbinary was a top-trending subject, and Monae decided to make their announcement then.

Monae retweeted a tweet from @camrynieroway, who wrote "There is absolutely nothing better than living outside the gender binary. #IAmNonbinary." @camrynieroway used a gif with a person being asked "are you a boy or a girl" and the person answering, "I am an experience." says the hash tag #IAmNonbinary is also used to educate others about people's gender specifications. The site adds that the Human Rights Campaign also uses the hash tag to clear up others' perceptions about people that are nonbinary.

Here Are Some Definitions


The National Center for Transgender Equality has an explanation for nonbinary on its website.

"Most people – including most transgender people – are either male or female. But some people don't neatly fit into the categories of "man" or "woman," or “male” or “female.”

For example, some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female.

Some people don't identify with any gender. Some people's gender changes over time."

In 2018, Monae came out as pansexual, which means someone who is attracted to others regardless of their sex or gender identity.


So when people are nonbinary and are neither male nor female, they use the terms to describe their gender, as the NCTE explained.

"People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common. Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender, and more. None of these terms mean exactly the same thing – but all speak to an experience of gender that is not simply male or female."

The center goes on to say some other basic facts about the subject -- that people being nonbinary is nothing new, that some that are nonbinary have procedures done to bring their bodies more in line with their gender identity, and that being nonbinary doesn't necessarily mean the person is transgender.

So for others who are not nonbinary, it helps to understand that being nonbinary means different things for different people, so if you don't know which pronoun the person prefers, it's okay to ask them. And even if you don't understand what nonbinary means, they still deserve others' respect.

Monae Has Support From All Around

Monae got a lot of support after her decision to come out as nonbinary.

"We KNEW! Thank you for your art and talent!" said @AdrianXpression

@honeyIesbians asked Monae: "janelle what pronouns do you prefer :)"

The musician Grimes also celebrated Monae's decision, saying, "I love you! 💕🪐 Space Queen."

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