Since the start of their career, Janelle Monáe has been focused on pushing the boundaries of their music, their image, and themselves. Now, the star is ready to dismiss the boundaries of the gender binary.
In the latest episode of Red Table Talk hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Monáe opened up about their gender identity, publicly coming out as non-binary. “I’m non-binary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” she told Smith, who was joined by her co-hosts and family members Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris. “I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ And if I am from God, I am everything.”
The star was quick to point out, though, that just because they no longer identify solely as a woman does not mean that their commitment to furthering feminism and female liberation has changed. “I will always, always stand with women,” they said. “I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything that I am, beyond the binary.”
The Dirty Computer singer has hinted at their non-binary identity before. Back in January 2020, the star tweeted out the hashtag “#IAmNonbinary,” leading to many fans believing they had officially come out. However, in a subsequent interview with The Cut, Monáe said that their intention in tweeting the hashtag was meant as a sign of support for the community, rather than a self-declaration. “It resonated with me, especially as someone who has pushed boundaries of gender since the beginning of my career,” they said at the time.
Speaking about why they decided to come out now, Monáe said that they were given advice about owning who they were in private before making anything public. “Somebody said, ‘If you don’t work out the things that you need to work out first before sharing it with the world, then you’re going to be working it out with the world,'” they said. “That’s what I didn’t want to do.”
Back in 2018, Monáe publicly came out as pansexual in a Rolling Stone cover story, telling the magazine at the time, “Being a queer Black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-a– motherf—er.”
Check out the full episode of Red Table Talk featuring Janelle Monáe (and a new statement from Jada Pinkett Smith on husband Will Smith’s Oscars controversy) below.