I often speak about how if I’d seen non-binary people on TV as a kid, I’d probably have come out a whole lot sooner.
We’re lucky now to be seeing more trans representation across pop culture, whether it’s through icons like Elliot Page, in reality TV dating shows or in the music industry. The importance of this representation can’t be understated – it can educate others, while helping people see their identities reflected on a public stage. It can provide a sense of hope and community.
This month, us non-binary folk have had a pretty good month for representation on TV. And despite the world feeling like it’s on fire right now, I’m taking this as a huge win.
Demi Lovato tries to cook on ‘Cooking With Paris’
In May this year, Demi Lovato (who clever trans fans have dubbed Them-i-Lovato) came out as non-binary. And that was a huge deal.
“Over the past year-and-a-half, I've been doing some healing and self-reflective work. And through this work, I've had the revelation that I identify as non-binary,” Demi Lovato shared in an episode of their podcast, 4D with Demi Lovato.
As a non-binary lover of Italian food, I deeply resonated with Demi Lovato’s appearance on the greatest cooking show of all time, Cooking With Paris. The premise of Cooking With Paris is simple: Paris can’t really cook, so she invites her famous friends to a mansion and together they give it a go.
Demi Lovato attempts to make ravioli with Paris Hilton. Together, they fuck it up so bad they have to resort to store-bought pasta instead. The pair then makes “unicorn-oli”, a pink and glittery cannelloni that in no way resembles its namesake. But the set is exceptionally over-the-top, and they both look great in it.
Petition for an all-non-binary cooking show, please?
Netflix’s ‘Glow Up’ Uses Pronouns In Contestant Descriptions
Glow Up is one of the greatest reality shows on television. It serves you camp, high stakes drama and endless stunning make-up looks. Plus it’s authentically diverse.
It also has its own vernacular, which all good reality TV does, with “DING-DONG DARLING” and “have a quick conflab” now being phrases for the ages.
Season 3 of Glow Up has just been released, and it’s made a tiny tweak that has an enormous impact. When each contestant is on screen, we get to see their name, age, occupation and their pronouns.
One of the contestants this season is non-binary, which possibly could have sparked the update. It’s a huge step – not only seeing the non-binary person’s pronouns, but making it standard practice for everyone.
This hopefully inspires other shows to follow suit – showing that someone’s pronouns are an important part of their identity, whether they’re cis or trans. It's a HUGE ding-dong from me.
A non-binary skater hits the Olympics. In skateboarding, of course
Skateboarding’s first year in the Olympics has been a huge hit. With teenage badasses taking home medals and plenty of queer representation – I’m seriously hoping the sport stays for good. Also, Margielyn Arda Didal captured hearts around the world with her huge smile, even when stacking it off her board, and amazing camaraderie to her fellow contestants. I am a forever Margie stan.
Making absolute history, US Olympic skater Alana Smith joined a wave of openly queer and trans athletes at this year’s Olympics, as an out-and-proud non-binary person in park skateboarding. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been weeping over this. Seeing them smash their tricks and hold up their skateboard with “they/them” written all over it has truly sent me.
It’s a massive deal to see non-binary athletes compete in the Olympics, particularly in defiance of their rigid gender binary categories. Alana Smith’s proud transness hit TV screens all over the world, and their huge grin has gotten to so many of us. WE LOVE YOU ALANA.
Alana took to their Instagram to reflect on the massive achievement of representing the United States on the Olympic stage as a trans person.
“My goal coming into this was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me. For the first time in my entire life, Im proud of the person I’ve worked to become,” they wrote.
“I feel happy to be alive and feel like I’m meant to be here for possibly the first time in a extremely long time,” they added, after referencing a time they didn’t feel that way. Given there are high levels of mental illness in the trans community, seeing a message of hope like this is monumental.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Seeing this level of trans magic on TV this month has warmed my icy-cold heart.
Oh, and to end this piece about non-binary finery, here’s Demi Lovato making us all turn very queer in a fucked-up hot photoshoot with actor Allie Marie Evans. You’re welcome.