Van Ness told Out that he uses he/him pronouns but does not identify as a man. “Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman,” he explained. “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.”
He continued, “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. 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 now they present is really important and exciting.” (Van Ness has a partnership with essie nail polish.)
Asked if he has recently embraced his non-binary identity, Van Ness answered, “Well like, no. I just didn’t know what the name was. I’ve been wearing heels and wearing makeup and wearing skirts and stuff for a minute, honey. I just like didn’t know that that meant — that I had a title.”
Ever since he was a child, the Netflix star loved wearing feminine clothing and accessories, like nail polish, high heels, and skirts, he explained. “But when I was really young, I had really femme-shamey, gender-shamey [comments] when I would dress like that,” he said. He felt he had to hide his femme identity. "When I would do it, it had to be behind closed doors."
When he became an adult, that all changed. Van Ness has become well-known for rocking dresses and heels on the red carpet, and looking incredible doing so. “But I didn’t really put that together with ‘gender nonconforming’ or ‘non-binary’ or owning that as an identity until recent[ly], because I think I just thought that I loved skirts and heels,” he explained.
But now, Van Ness is ready to embrace his non-binary identity. “I just am either like gender-bendy or nonconform-y or nonbinary and somedays I feel like a boy and somedays I feel like a girl," he said. "I didn’t think I was allowed to be non-conforming or genderqueer or non-binary — I was just always like ‘a gay man’ because that’s just the label I thought I had to be.”