Janelle Monae Comes out as Non-Binary in Revealing 'Red Table Talk'

Janelle Monáe has come forward as a non-binary individual. She (a representative for Monáe confirmed to Rolling Stone that the artist still uses she/her pronouns) publicly disclosed her gender identity on the April 20 episode of Red Table Talk. The Grammy-nominated artist previously came out as pansexual (attraction to people regardless of gender or sex) in a 2018 Rolling Stone cover story

Monáe stated in that interview that she initially identified as bisexual but later read about pansexuality and felt that, "'Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am." On Red Table TalkMonáe said of her identity, "I'm nonbinary, so I just don't see myself as a woman, solely. I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the 'he' or the 'she.' 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 beyond the binary." 

Janelle Monáe’s Hidden Struggles

Trailblazing global superstar Janelle Monáe joins the Red Table and shares her inspiring message for anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t fit in or can’t be themselves. This unapologetic Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, LGBTQIA+ superhero, and author of the new book "The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer" reveals what inspired her to come out later in life. Janelle shares how she overcame her fears of abandonment and healed from the traumatizing effects of her father’s drug addiction. Then, a special appearance by Janelle’s fierce and fun-loving mom shakes up the Table. Plus, a dream comes true for a Janelle superfan.

Posted by Red Table Talk on Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Co-host Willow Smith asked Monáe what made her ready to come out publicly. Before telling the world the news, the singer stated that she had to figure things out herself, especially with her conservative family. "I wasn't ready to have my family question my personal life or get calls from people who still look at me as Little Pumpkin — that's what they call me back home," she said. "I needed to talk to my dad, who was just great. My sister knew already because I've been in monogamous relationships; I've been in polyamorous relationships. But I knew that I couldn't be Little Pumpkin. I couldn't be little Janelle."

As far as what made her feel safe in speaking her truth, "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,'" Monáe said. "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." The Hidden Figures actress said the difference is that now, "I know who I am. I've been playing a version of some parts of me, but now I'm owning all of me. I had to own all me to really talk about it publicly."

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Monáe added that she sees the energy of people rather than their sex or gender. "I don't see how you identify," she said. "And I feel like that opens you up to fall in love with whoever, with any beautiful spirit." She also spoke to Variety in 2020 about navigating the world through a non-binary lens. "I've always tried to get rid of all of those things — any labels — and work on my journey, wherever that may be," Monáe said. "I do feel like I am an experience, I am on self-discovery, and I just want to continue to show love to everyone who continues to live outside of the binary."