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Janelle Monáe opens up about her gender identity: ‘I feel my feminine, I feel my masculine, I feel energy that I can’t really explain’

Patrick Kelleher June 17, 2020
Janelle Monae didn't come out as non-binary, she was standing in solidarity

Janelle Monáe onstage in Pasadena, California, days after her Steven Universe tweet. (Amy Sussman/Getty)

Janelle Monáe has opened up about her gender identity, saying she has both “feminine” and “masculine” energy that cannot be fully explained.

The actor and pop star sent ripples through the LGBT+ community in January when she tweeted the hashtag #IAmNonBinary along with a Steven Universe GIF.

Amid speculation, Monáe later clarified that she had not come out as non-binary, but instead posted the hashtag in support of Non-Binary Day.

In an interview with Variety, the Moonlight star revisited the topic, and said though she doesn’t identify as non-binary, she doesn’t live her life “in a binary way”.

Janelle Monáe is ‘exploring’ her gender identity.

“The meme is what resonated with me, from Steven Universe,” she said.

“‘I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, I’m an experience.’ And I said, ‘F**k yes! That’s me.’

“You know, in the same way when Prince said, ‘I’m not a woman/I’m not a man/I’m something that you’ll never understand’ in ‘I Would Die 4 U’ – that resonated with me.”

Monáe continued: I feel my feminine, I feel my masculine, I feel energy that I can’t really explain.”

I have fought against gender norms, and what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. I’m a f**king android.

The Dirty Computer singer said she is “exploring” her gender identity.

“I’m so open to what the universe is teaching me, and teaching all of us about gender. I definitely don’t live my life in a binary way. I’ve always pushed, as you can see from the way that I dress to the things that I’ve said since the beginning of my career.

She said she does not have to ‘declare anything’ when it comes to pronouns.

Janelle Monáe continued: “I have fought against gender norms, and what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. I’m a f**king android.”

She said she is “so happy” that more people are learning about what it means to be gender non-conforming or non-binary.

Monáe was also asked about her pronouns, with the interviewer pointing out that her Wikipedia page was amended to incorporate they/them pronouns following her “non-binary” tweet.

“That was not me,” she said. “I think people can call me whatever it is they want to call me. I know who I am. I know my journey. And I don’t have to declare anything.”

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