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'Connecting's Shakina Nayfack Says She Is Nonbinary, Updates Pronouns

Shakina Nayfack

"I always felt 'non-binary' was implicit in my identity."

Connecting... and Difficult People star Shakina Nayfack has announced that she is nonbinary on her Instagram today.

"I always felt 'nonbinary' was implicit in my identity," the 40-year-old actress posted on her social media today in large text post written over the trans flag. "I've personally understood the prefix 'trans' to mean 'beyond' more than 'from one to another,' as in TRANScending gender."

She points out that she's always considered this a part of who she is. "I've claimed the term 'gender non-conforming' from the outset of my journey, more than 20 years ago--before non-binary was common language."

Claiming the identity hasn't always been easy for Nayfack, though. "For a long time I felt defensive about the non-binary label," she said, "because in my mind, choosing to identify with that terminology meant I was stating that the inverse was also true, that a binary exists and I'm just setting myself apart from it. The refusal of a gender binary and proving any assumptions of it false, porous, malleable, have always been core to my beliefs and my practice of gender as a social construction within which we are fighting for agency to dismantle oppression and determine our selves."

However, she doesn't want to call this a coming out moment. Instead, she's choosing now to claim the identity she's always had. She went on to clarify that her pronouns are still she/her, but she says they/them also works "if that's what the discourse requires."

Last year, Nayfack became the first out trans actor to star in a network comedy when she appeared in NBC's short-lived social-distancing sitcom Connecting... In the show, which was filmed over Zoom, she played Ellis, a trans woman who lost her job at the beginning of quarantine and was looking to find some connections.

She's also appeared in the musical finale of Transparent, and was the first trans actor to be the voice of Hana, a trans woman character, in the English dub of the movie Tokyo Godfathers.

Actor and singer Demi Lovato also recently came out as nonbinary, updating their pronouns to they/them. "Over the past year and a half, I've been doing some healing and self-reflective work," they said in a video posted to social media. "And through this work I've had the revelation that I identify as nonbinary. With that said, I'll officially be changing my pronouns to they/them. 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."

Congratulations to Shakina, we're always happy to get to know our favorite celebs a little better.

RELATED: 8 Celebs Who Came Out as Trans or Nonbinary in 2020

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