Queer Eye‘s resident grooming diva just revealed that he’s gender non-binary. If you’re not sure what that means, then keep reading!
If you’ve watched the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, then you probably already have a strong opinion about Jonathan Van Ness. The grooming expert has a vivacious personality and a wardrobe to match. He’s the most “femme” of the Fab Five, and while some of their makeover subjects are initially unsure about his over-the-top personality, everyone quickly grows to love Jonathan for his kindness and humor.
Both on the show and in his personal life, Jonathan wears his hair long and often sports super-high heels (which resulted in a recently sprained ankle), makeup, dresses and caftans, and other traditionally feminine clothing. But he also favors a beard and luxuriant handlebar mustache. Here’s how he makes sense of feeling both feminine and masculine:
“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 think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it.”
Jonathan went on to tell Out Magazine that he’s not convinced gender is a good thing because of the way it limits and pigeonholes people. “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.”
According to the celebrity stylist, who wore a sheer black mesh top and long black skirt to his first-ever Emmy Awards ceremony, he always knew that traditional gender roles didn’t apply to him. But until relatively recently, he wasn’t aware that there was a word for how he felt.
He was also hesitant to claim the word for himself since much of his identity was built on being a gay man. “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.”
Although terms like “genderqueer” are still outside the mainstream, people like Jonathan are bringing the conversation into the spotlight. Last year, Fantastic Beasts and Justice League star Ezra Miller also came out as non-binary, raising awareness and acceptance with his high-profile fashion moments on the red carpet. And we all swooned as Billy Porter showed up at the Oscars last year in a stunning Christian Siriano tuxedo dress.
Thanks to the massive success of Queer Eye, Jonathan has been able to grow his brand with high-profile partnerships and endorsements. Since loves nail polish and never leaves the house without a manicure. For Pride month, Jonathan partnered with Essie nail polish for a line of rainbow colors. He’s the first non-female person to represent the company. He also launched a line of sunglasses with DIFF, several styles of which have already sold out.
Before being cast on Queer Eye, Jonathan was hosting a Game of Thrones video recap called “Gay of Thrones” for FunnyorDie.