Janelle Monáe has come out as non-binary.
“I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” Monáe told the hosts. “I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ And if I am from God, I am everything. I am everything. But I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything that I am—beyond the binary.”
A representative for Monáe confirmed to Rolling Stone the singer-songwriter still uses she/her pronouns.
“When I see people, I see your energy first,” she continued. “I don’t see how you identify. And I feel like that opens you up to fall in love with any beautiful spirit.”
Willow then asked Monáe what prepared her to come out publicly.
“Well, you know, somebody said, ‘If you don’t work out the things that you need to work out first, before you share with the world, then you’ll be working it out with the world,’” she explained. “That’s what I didn’t want to do. So I thought I needed to have all my answers correct. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, and also, I hadn’t had the necessary conversations with my family. I wasn’t ready to have my family question my personal life.”
Monáe admitted it took her some time before she discussed her gender identity and sexuality with her mother, as she came from a deeply religious family. But she eventually worked up the courage to speak her truth.
“What does it mean to go against your whole family? … I was like, ‘You know what? If they don’t love me, don’t call me asking me for no money,’” she said. “‘You will not get my LGBTQIA+ money.’”
She went on to say her mom initially had a lot of questions and that her dad “was great” when she opened up about her identity.
“I know who I am,” she added. “I’ve been playing a version of some parts of me, but now I’m owning all of me. I had to own all of me to really be able to talk about it publicly.”
In a 2018 Rolling Stone interview, Monáe said she originally identified as bisexual, before learning about pansexuality.
“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-ass motherfucker,” she said. “But then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”