Skip to Content

10 Trailblazing Non-Binary Icons That Entertain, Inspire and Delight!

10 Trailblazing Non-Binary Icons That Entertain, Inspire and Delight!

What many outside of the LGBTQ+ community and its close allies may not understand about the culture is how diverse it is. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t seem to appreciate the fact that LGBT culture is just as complex and multifaceted as so-called mainstream culture. 

Those who don’t have a good grasp of the community don’t understand that nonbinary people, trans people, and LGBT people of color have been on the frontlines of the struggle for decades, and have often been some of the most vocal in championing LGBT rights and equality. 

“Nonbinary” is an umbrella term to describe those who don’t subscribe to conventional gender distinctions. This includes those who are genderfluid (those whose gender experience can shift over time) as well as agender (those who don’t identify with any gender) and genderqueer (those who can identify with multiple genders).

Until very recently nonbinary people have been one of the more overlooked parts of the LGBT community (although thanks to the people you are about to meet here and others like them that is beginning to change). 

Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people

Here we will highlight ten of the most influential and inspiring non-binary icons challenging traditional gender norms today. These entertainers, activists and thinkers are the vanguards in challenging society’s notions of gender, and they give us all a master class in how to defy gender conventions. These are the ones doing the most to gain acceptance for people who choose to make their own path and forge their own identity.

They prove to us that you can be who you choose to be despite what anyone else has to say, and for that we rightly adore them. 

Shop LGBTQ+ Pride Designs @

Janelle Monae 

This singer, songwriter, actress and sci-fi author came out as non-binary in an April 2022 interview on an episode of Red Table Talk, saying “I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely. I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ If I am from God, I am everything. I am everything, but I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything beyond the binary.”

The 8-time Grammy Award nominee has released 3 albums, the latest of which is a concept album titled Dirty Computer, which was accompanied by a short film that won a Hugo Award. Monae has also written a collection of cyberpunk short stories working off the album’s concepts. She has also found success on the big screen starring in the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight

On her creative alter-ego (a woman named Cindi Mayweather from the far future city of Metropolis) Monae has said, “I speak about androids because I think the android represents the new ‘other’. You can compare it to being a lesbian or being a gay man or being a Black woman … what I want is for people who feel oppressed or feel like the ‘other’ to connect with the music.

Janelle Monae  - Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people
Janelle Monáe – Øyafestivalen 2014. flickr photo by NRK P3 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Miley Cyrus

As one of the biggest names in entertainment (not to mention a huge A-list celebrity) Miley Cyrus needs little introduction. What many may not realize about Miley is that she is one of the most prominent non-binary public figures out there. 

Mily has been quite open about her sexuality and how she identifies herself. On the topic she has been quoted as saying, “I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.” Cyrus has been an advocate for increasing visibility for LGBTQ people, and for increasing social acceptance for people who choose to live outside of the binary. 

To that she partnered with Instagram in its InstaPride campaign to help share the stories if nonbinary, transgender and gender fluid people, as well as those of others in the LGBTQ+ community. And in the wake of the death of Leelah Alcorn – a 17-year-old transgender girl who committed suicide due to the alienation she experienced – Cyrus founded the Happie Hippie Foundation to benefit the homeless and LGBTQ communities. 

Though she has unfortunately often been maligned in the media, and much of her advocacy work has been overlooked, Miley Cyrus is very much a worthy inspiration for not only other non-binary and gender fluid people, but for all LGBTQ people. By being so open about her self-identity, Miley has done much to make those who reject the traditional boy/girl paradigms much more visible. 

Demi Lovato

This singer and actress has been in the public eye for most of their life. It wasn’t until 2021 however that they came out publicly as nonbinary and changed their pronouns to they/them, after having come out to friends and family a few months earlier. 

On the decision Lovato stated, “I feel that this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression, and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and still am discovering. This has come after a lot of healing and self-reflective work. I’m still learning and coming into myself; I don’t claim to be an expert or a spokesperson. Sharing this with you now opens another level of vulnerability for me.” 

They added, “I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones. Please keep living in your truths & know I am sending so much love your way.”

Their work as an LGBT rights activist was honored with a GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2016. Lovato has also been the lead performer for NYC Pride Week as well as Grand Marshal for the LA Pride Parade. They have also worked with the Human Rights Campaign in honoring the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting, as well as being a spokesperson for Human Rights Campaign’s America for Marriage Equality. 

Lovato has also used her fame as a platform to create visibility for other causes, such as spreading mental health awareness as well as speaking out against bullying. The fact that they have done all this all while facing down their own personal struggles makes Demi Lovato all the more deserving of being known as a trailblazing genderfluid icon that we can all look up to. 

Demi Lovato - Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people
Demi Lovato flickr photo by Avodrocc shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Sam Smith

Singer/songwriter Sam Smith has found incredible success as a genderqueer artist, having sold well over 30 million records and won 4 Grammy Awards, 3 Brit Awards, 3 Billboard Music Awards, an American Music Award, as well as a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. Smith has also achieved two Guinness World Records for recording the first James Bond theme to reach no.1 in the UK music charts, and for scoring the most consecutive weeks in the UK top 10 by a debut album (In the Lonely Hour). 

Same chose to come out as genderqueer in 2017, and two years later announced that they were nonbinary, and changed their pronouns to they/them to reflect their gender identity, saying “After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out.” They also stated a desire to be open and visible in the hopes that they can contribute to giving visibility and a voice to others out there who identify as nonbinary and genderfluid. Upon coming out Smith expressed that they were, to use their own words, “scared shitless but feeling super free right now.” 

You just have to applaud that kind of bravery. And really, we could think of no better spokesperson for genderqueer people and the LGBT community at large. 

Amandla Stenberg

As one of the youngest entries on our list, actor and singer Amandla Stenberg is perhaps one of the most important ones as well, in terms of presenting a role model for nonbinary and genderqueer youth. Stenberg has been listed as one of Time’s Most Influential Teens in the past, and they have been the recipient of a Teen Choice Award and an NAACP Image Award. They have also been nominated for 4 Black Reel Awards and a Critic’s Choice Award. 

Amandla’s film credits include The Hunger Games, Mr. Robinson, Sleepy Hollow, The Hate U Give, and many more. Among the more poignant roles they have played are as a biracial teen who carries out a relationship with a member of the Hitler Youth in Where Hands Touch

Amandla is almost as widely known for their activism as they are for their filmography. As an outspoken intersectional feminist, they have been publicly vocal on their political views. They have been called “One of the most incendiary voices of her generation.” The nonprofit Ms. Foundation for Women named her “Feminist of the Year” in 2015. 

To quote Stenberg on her own gender identity, “I tend to believe that gender as we’ve set it up in current-day society doesn’t actually exist. I’ve said before that I’m comfortable with using the pronouns ‘they’ or ‘them’ alongside ‘she’ and ‘her’ just because that’s a conversation that’s important to me. I don’t necessarily always subscribe to female pronouns just because I don’t think that pronouns are necessarily very meaningful.”

It’s great to see Stenberg giving a voice to genderqueer young people, and she is more than deserving of being called a trailblazing nonbinary icon. 

Amandla Stenberg - Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people
Amandla Stenberg flickr photo by Gage Skidmore shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Tilda Swinton

This nonbinary British actress has had quite a storied career spanning 5 decades and numerous roles. Along the way she has accumulated many accolades, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and nomination for a European Film Award in addition to a Golden Globe nomination, just to mention a few. 

Among Tilda’s most notable roles are in the Titular role in the 1992 film adaptation of Virgina Woolf’s Orlando (based on a Virginia Woolf novel about a character who lives for centuries and changes sex), as well as her portrayal of The White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia series and of The Ancient One in the Marvel franchise. 

In a 2021 interview with Vogue Swinton stated, “I’m very clear that queer is actually, for me anyway, to do with sensibility. I always felt I was queer – I was just looking for my queer circus, and I found it. And having found it, it’s my world.” On her sexuality and identity, she has also been quoted as saying, “I don’t know if I could ever really say that I was a girl… I was kind of a boy for a long time. I don’t know, who knows? It changes.”

Swinton considers gender a transformative possibility, and enjoys “walking the tightrope of identity, of sexual identity, of gender identity,” to use her own words. 

On the topic of how art and life sometimes correlate, Tilda had this to say, “That whole idea of transformation is at the heart of what I’m interested in as a performer and not least through the idea of gender. It’s a very personal matter. I can categorically say that as Orlando does in the film: Yes, I’m probably a woman.”

With such a fascinating take on sexual/gender identity, Swinton deserves a place on any list of the most influential and inspiring non-binary public figures. 

Tilda Swinton Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people
Tilda Swinton flickr photo by Gage Skidmore shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Jonathan Van Ness

One of the new Fab Five, JVN is an actor, author and comedian in addition to being a formally trained hairdresser. Aside from his role as the grooming expert of the Queer Eye reboot, Jonathan has starred in the web series Gay of Thrones, and is the host of his own podcast, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, which won the iHeartRadio Podcast Award for Best LGBTQ Podcast. In addition, his memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, won the Goodreads Choice Award. In 2019 Van Ness was the recipient of the Critics Choice Award for Male Star of the Year. 

It wasn’t always stars and rainbows for Jonathan, though. Though he has always been comfortable in his own sexuality and gender expression, Jonathan was subjected to relentless bullying in his school years and was sexually abused by an older boy at church. His trademark sense of humor was born out of the trauma he experienced; it was something he used as a coping mechanism. 

Unfortunately, self-destructive behaviors including drug use were also born out of that trauma. Later on in his twenties, Van Ness found out he was HIV positive, a revelation which led him to “clean up” and openly share his story of redemption, saying “I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.” Considering how far JVN has come to be where he is now, it’s easy to say that he is an inspiration to anyone who has experienced adversity in life, especially LGBTQ people. 

JVN identifies as non-binary and gender non-conforming. He has said of his skyrocketing fame that he wishes to use it as a platform to advocate for his gender experience as well as that of others who identify as gender nonconforming and living outside of the traditional binary, saying in one interview, “I have a very privileged and lucky experience; that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked really hard, because I have. I’ve been rejected and I’ve been through so many things.”

Jonathan Van Ness - Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people
Jonathan Van Ness @ SXSW 2022 flickr photo by DannyB Photos shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Gigi Raven Wilbur

Though many may not have heard of Gig Raven Wilbur, it’s about time they did. This American LGBTQ activist and writer is perhaps best known for being one of the three people who created Celebrate Bisexuality Day in 1999. Later that year, they (Wilbur accepts any and all pronouns but leans toward they/them) were the recipient of the Globe Award from the American Institute of Bisexuality. 

Gigi themself is intersex, though they were subjected to nonconsensual surgery and masculinizing hormone treatments as a child. They have identified themself as hermaphrodite, ladyboy, and third gender. On their identity they have said, “Society does not allow my true gender to exist…I am neither female nor male, and I am both female and male.” On their sexuality they have identified as both bisexual and pansexual

With a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy as well as a Master’s in social work, Gigi Raven Wilbur has dedicated her life to activism and advancing the cause of LGBTQ equality, particularly for the bisexual community as host of a bisexuality radio show and a coordinator of BiNet USA, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “facilitate the development of a cohesive network of bisexual communities, promote bisexual visibility, and collect and distribute educational information regarding bisexuality.”

Toward this end Wilbur’s own words are, “One of my big dreams life vision is to create a sex-positive world that’s accepting of all sexes and where there’s equality between all sexes. We have so much misogyny and just inequality in life.” Those are words to inspire the champion for equality in each of us, and it is that vision the makes Gigi Raven Wilbur a more than worthy nonbinary icon that should be celebrated. 

Sasha Velour 

Most of you will probably need no introduction to this American genderqueer drag queen and winner of the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Aside from her reality show fame, Velour is known for helping to create the very first all-queer show for Fashion Week in partnership with clothing brand Opening Ceremony. The multitalented Velour also published a digital historic comic (before her drag fame she was a professional graphic designer) about the Stonewall Riots to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event, titled Three Dollar Riot

Sasha has also made TV appearances on shows like Broad City and The Bold Type. Her production company, The House of Velour, has made waves in the drag community and beyond with works like Smoke & Mirrors – a solo theater show which she has performed in New York, Los Angeles and London as well as in Australia, Canada and throughout Europe. An 8-episode docu-series based on the show called Nightgowns was produced to widespread acclaim, with one reviewer calling it one of “the most life-affirming shows you could find on any platform.” It won a RealScreen Award in 2021. 

It is safe to say that Sasha Velour has made the most of her reality show success. That is great for her, and what is great for others is that she has chosen to use that success as a platform to help create safe spaces for others who reject the traditional binary notion of gender and instead choose to define their own gender identity. She is probably one of the most influential gender-fluid entertainers out there right now, and perhaps her biggest contribution thus far is that now-legendary line in C.L.A.T.: “gender is a construct, tear it apart!”

Steven Tyler

Many may not realize that the legendary Aerosmith frontman is nonbinary, though really it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has seen the singer perform onstage. In his 2011 memoir, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? he wrote, “I’ve been misquoted as saying that I’m more female than male. Let me set the record straight — it’s more half and half. And I love the fact that my feelings are akin to puella eternis (Latin for ‘the eternal girl’). What better to be like than the stronger of the species?”

It would be hard to think of a better representative of the genderfluid crowd within the rock and roll subculture, for Tyler is the voice of one of the most influential bands in history. And with his trademark binary-defying fashion style, highlighted by flowing scarves, flamboyant colors, and eye-catching prints, Tyler has shown himself to be bold and unapologetic in his gender identity. Steven has described his style as “Over the top, old school, a mixture of now and then, with rock and chic. Funky, but chic, with a side order of sexy.”

Steven Tyler’s bold, devil-may-care attitude when it comes to self-expression (that is, not caring what the world thinks) is what makes him a trailblazing nonbinary icon. And looking at him in this light, you’ll probably never listen to Dude (Looks Like a Lady) in the same way again. 

Steven Tyler - Non-Binary Icons - gender fluid icons - famous non binary people - famous non binary celebrities - non binary famous people
Steven Tyler flickr photo by Gage Skidmore shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
Shop Genderfluid Designs @