It’s not just anyone who can bring actor, activist, ally, and all-around icon Jane Fonda to tears, but that's exactly what happened on a recent episode of Demi Lovato’s podcast, 4D with Demi Lovato. Fonda was on the show to discuss her ongoing fight in the climate crisis, and the conversation ranged from feminism to The New Green Deal. But it was when the topic turned to Lovato’s journey of self-discovery around their non-binary gender identity that these two had their most emotional and beautiful interaction.
It all began when Lovato highlighted the oppressive role that patriarchy plays in the environmental crisis, but also how it directly impacted their life and their coming out as non-binary. When asked by Fonda about when they had that realization, Lovato opened up about how they came to understand that they are non-binary.
Lovato explained that it came in stages for them, but that it began at a show they attended. “I think the first tier was going to a friend’s poetry slam show that I identified so profoundly with, because they were talking about not conforming to genders and identifying not as male or female," they said. "When I heard their take on that, I identified with it so much that I thought to myself, ‘Oh, there’s something here. There’s something that I’ve never known about my entire life but it’s clicking now and I need to research this, I need to do more work, I need to sit with this.’”
After a year of research and self-reflecting, and coming to understand that they are non-binary, Levato began taking steps in that direction, including cutting off their hair. “I was shedding all of the gender norms that had been placed on me growing up female in this world,” they explained. "And I just always found that men were at the root of pushing their agendas on me – to be a sexy pop star, whatever would make other people the most money. And I had to break that mold because I had to find the freedom for myself in order to survive, to live.”
Lovato also credited their near-fatal heroin overdose in 2018 as motivation to start living their life. “There was a voice inside of me that said, ‘You’re not living, and if you don’t start living your life for you it’s going to be your demise’” they recounted. “So I woke up and I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to live my truth, and no matter who it scares – no matter who in the patriarchy it shakes – I’m going to live my truth for me.’”
It was this final statement that brought Fonda to tears. “What you’re saying is so brave. It’s so, so brave, I wish I could hug you right now,” she said. “I’m so glad to hear you say all this, Demi. I’m just so proud of you and I’m so glad, and I admire it so much. I’m so glad that you came out of that because I’ve seen the documentary, that you came out of that with that realization and that you’re finding your real truth and it’s just wonderful. It’s just wonderful.”
Fonda’s reaction and words of support gave Lovato “full-body chills,” they said.
Watch the full interview below.