'Queer Eye' Star Jonathan Van Ness Opened Up About Being Nonbinary For The First Time
Pride Month is here and Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness opened up about being nonbinary in a recent interview with Out Magazine. When discussing his partnership with essie nail polish and how he celebrates his identity, the reality star described what being "nonbinary" and "genderqueer," means to him. Van Ness also clarified that he prefers he/him pronouns, although he also said that he doesn't identify as a man.
When asked what it was like to be a spokesperson for a product that is mainly targeted towards women, Van Ness replied: "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary — I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don't really — I think my energies are really all over the place."
The Queer Eye grooming expert also spoke to the importance of challenging traditional gender roles and ways of identifying. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he told Out. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to. 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...is really important and exciting."
Van Ness told the outlet that while he had always enjoyed expressing himself through things like nail polish or heels, he experienced "really femme-shamey, gender-shamey [comments] when I would dress like that." He continued, "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 — like when I would do it, it had to be behind closed doors."
Now, Van Ness' fierce fashion is everywhere from red carpets to episodes of his hit Netflix show, and it's one of the things fans love most about him. Van Ness shared with Out that the feminine part of him provides major strength. "I feel like my feminine identity is what makes me the strongest," Van Ness explained. "All the people that I look up to the most, that I want to emulate the most are like 90% women. The people who shaped me the most was my mom, my grandma — it's Gloria, Celine, Aretha, Shania, Mariah."
Van Ness, who has also delved into the worlds of comedy and figure skating during his Queer Eye hiatus, talked about the complexity that accompanies his identity. Depending on the day, the reality star said his identity can shift and evolve:
"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. 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."
He also revealed that he wasn't always familiar with the term nonbinary even though he believes it has always described him. "I just didn't know what the name was," Van Ness said. "I've been wearing heels and wearing makeup and wearing skirts and stuff for a minute, honey. I just like didn't know that that meant — that I had a title."
It seems now that Van Ness is embracing all of his titles and dimensions more than ever, and he's happy to share his journey with his many fans.