What Janelle Monáe Learned About Herself After Coming Out as Nonbinary

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Janelle Monáe reacted to being called a trailblazer after opening up about her gender fluidity: “I’ve just tried to live authentically.”

By Mike Vulpo Oct 24, 2022 5:27 PMTags
Watch: Janelle Monae SHINES in Futuristic Ralph Lauren at Met Gala 2022

Janelle Monáe feels free to be her most authentic self. 

Back in April, the Grammy nominee revealed that she identifies as nonbinary and doesn't "see myself as a woman, solely." While her candor continues to be praised by those in the LGBTQ+ community, the 36-year-old says she's surprised by all the recognition.

"I don't necessarily look at myself as a trailblazer or someone who's blazed trails," Janelle exclusively told E! News at the 2022 Outfest Legacy Awards. "I've just tried to live authentically and honestly to who I am at that time, and honor that through my art, through the storytelling that I do and as a free-ass motherf--ker."

Since coming out, Janelle said she is able to "feel all of me" while also teaching friends and family what it means to identify as nonbinary.

"I'm patient and as long as I know who I am and how I identify and I honor that, I just feel more light," she said. "I feel freer and I feel like there's a lot more work to do when we're talking about nonbinary storytellers and communities. If we can get more visibility, then I think a lot of people will be more educated."

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On Oct. 22, Janelle was awarded the Trailblazer Award at the annual award show, presented by IMDb and Genesis. During her acceptance speech, the singer expressed how comfortable she felt to be surrounded by allies.

Shutterstock for Outfest

"I feel like I'm in my church tonight," she said. "I'm with people who see me and feel me, that understand me, and I'm just deeply humbled and so thankful. I'm just at a loss for real words to match my feelings so just accept my thank you."

Now, she wants others to feel just as accepted.

"You can have an internal conversation with yourself until you feel okay," she told E! News before accepting her award. "I had to talk to me and then I had to talk to my family and loved ones before I even started to allow it to spill over into my art because you don't want to be working out those sorts of things with the rest of the world."

"There's no wrong or right way," Janelle added. "Be patient with yourself and love yourself through every phase of it."

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