Jonathan Van Ness from ‘Queer Eye’ Says ‘I’m Nonbinary. I’m Gender Nonconforming’

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If you’re a fan of the Netflix show, Queer Eye (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), you’ll already be familiar with the wonder that is Jonathan Van Ness. The celebrity hairdresser and internet personality already had a cult fan following before he was cast in the reboot makeover show, but this star has only been on the rise since.

Many have praised Van Ness for his freedom of self-expression – much of which is done through his (sometimes rather out-there) fashion choices. He’s just as at home in a pair of jeans as he is in a ballgown. But, now, speaking with Out magazine, Van Ness has revealed that his complex gender expression runs a little deeper than simply wearing a skirt every now and again.

After training at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Van Ness moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to pursue his dream of hairdressing.

Van Ness has always had a personality that has meant he is destined for fame and he has made a name for himself across a range of entertainment platforms.

His breakthrough came via Netflix series, Queer Eye.

The makeover show stars Van Ness alongside Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Tan France, and Antoni Porowski.

And Van Ness’s role? Well, he looks after the beauty aspect of the makeover, introducing the participants to a skin and hair care routine to have them looking their best and feeling more confident.

But Queer Eye isn’t Van Ness’s only starring role.

He’s also well known for his iconic web series, Gay of Thrones, a comedic Game of Thrones recap show.

His podcast, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, is hugely successful. Each episode follows Van Ness interviewing an expert on one particular and specific topic, making learning fun.

And a lot of his cache is based upon his outfits – which are always interesting, extravagant, and just the right level of over-the-top.

Because the star is never restricted by gender when it comes to his clothing choices. In fact, he’s just as often pictured in stereotypically “female” clothing items as he is in “male” clothing.

It’s extremely refreshing to see someone be unapologetically themselves in a world that tends to want to categorize people into very specific little boxes.

Van Ness has collaborated with nail polish brand, Essie – and in a promotional interview for the collab with Out Magazine, he decided that it was time to break his silence.

But, in spite of being very open about his sexuality, he is still subject to a lot of abuse. On a heartwrenching episode of Queer Eye, Van Ness described it as being “chased around with torches and pitchforks”.

Out Magazine asked Van Ness how he felt about representing Essie, a brand whose target audience is primarily female. And his response was quite surprising.

“It’s really cool! The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender non-conforming,” Van Ness exclusively revealed.

He went on, “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”.

“Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it. 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,” he explained.

“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 and they can like be — like, making iconic partnerships with brands like Essie no matter how they present is really important and exciting”.

“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 says.

But he has also said that he feels uncomfortable with the label of “man,” and wouldn’t apply it to himself anymore.

Out Magazine editor, Fran Tirado, wrote on Twitter, “Though the comedian’s brand and career has hinged on the gay male archetype, ‘male’ as it turns out, is not a very accurate term to describe him. Congrats, bb!”.

We’re super happy for Jonathan – but even more so, we hope that his revelation helps others out there who may be having similar struggles with their gender identities.