Jonathan Van Ness, one of the stars on Netflix’s Queer Eye, said he identifies as nonbinary and gender nonconforming in a recent interview with Out magazine.
Van Ness also said that while he does not identify as a man and sees himself more fluidly, he prefers he/him pronouns.
“The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary,” Van Ness said. “I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman.”
Van Ness, who has been vocal about his identity as a gay man, said he didn’t know the most accurate label to use when it comes to his gender until more recently.
“I’ve been wearing heels and wearing makeup and wearing skirts and stuff for a minute, honey,” Van Ness told Out. “I just didn’t know that that meant that I had a title.”
The reality star said ideas about gender are intended “to separate and divide,” but he wants to “breakdown stereotypes of the binary” with every opportunity he can.
“It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to,” he said. “I always used to think, ‘Oh, I’m like a gay man,’ but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves…no matter how they present is really important and exciting.”
When Van Ness was growing up, he said he “put on every nail polish, every heel, every scarf,” but as a result he was often on the receiving end of “femme-shamey, gender-shamey” comments.
“When I would play with those things, I knew it needed to be before the sun came up or after the sun came down, like, in the basement and it needed to be something I couldn’t wear to school,” he said. “When I would do it, it had to be behind closed doors.”
According to Van Ness, he’s “busted out of that” as an adult and no longer feels like he needs to hide who he is. Rather than fitting into one specific idea of gender, the Netflix star is challenging social norms by identifying as nonbinary.
“I just am either like gender-bendy or nonconform-y or nonbinary and somedays I feel like a boy and somedays I feel like a girl,” Van Ness said. “I didn’t think I was allowed to be nonconforming or genderqueer or nonbinary — I was just always like ‘a gay man’ because that’s just the label I thought I had to be.”