Demi Lovato has come out and said that their split with Max Ehrich helped them to understand their gender identity, and regain confidence in identifying as non-binary.

They recently appeared at a virtual summit hosted by Texan independent news outlet The 19th, where their conversation with Kate Sosin delved into the exploration of their identity, and how it’s an ongoing journey for them.

Demi said that they had begun questioning their gender in the “fourth or fifth grade”, and were dressing more masculine while also doing beauty pageants and performances.

They personally and privately started identifying as non-binary in March last year, but by late March had started dating Max and pushed all their gender identity and questioning down to save face in that new relationship.

“Going into March 2020 I was starting to identify as non-binary,” they said.

“But then I met someone, and I got into this straight relationship, and that was great. But that led me to ignoring all the parts of myself that I didn’t think were digestible for my partner at the time, who ended up becoming my fiancé.”

It’s not the first time they’ve made themselves more “digestible” for the people around them, with Demi revealing they did the same thing in middle school, making themselves more acceptable and digestible for their classmates as a teenager.

But once the relationship – and the three month whirlwind engagement – with Max ended in May, Demi was able to start that exploration into their gender identity once again.

“The dissolvement of that relationship was actually probably the best thing that’s happened to me, because of what that led inside of myself,” Demi said.

“I was able to stand on my own two feet without needing someone else to validate me or to make me feel accepted.

“When I said goodbye to that relationship, I also said goodbye to everything that was holding me back from being my most authentic self.”

Though they currently identify as non-binary, Demi recognised that gender is fluid and that their exploration is an “ongoing journey” that has the potential to change in the future.

“There might be a time where I identify as trans,” Demi said.

“I don’t know what this looks like for me. There might be a time where I identify as non-binary and gender nonconforming my entire life. Or maybe there’s a period of time when I get older that I identify as a woman, I don’t know what that looks like, but for me, in this moment right now, this is how I identify.”

Demi said they feel things likely won’t change with their gender identity, but they’re also not closing themselves off to the fluidity of gender and gender expression, and are just going to keep it “open and free”.

You can watch the full keynote with Demi below, and their conversation kicks off about 2 hrs and 35 minutes in.

Image: Getty Images / Rich Fury