As Pride month continues to be celebrated around the world, Aussie actor Hugh Sheridan has come out as non-binary with a powerful message about labels. It was just eight months ago that Sheridan announced they are attracted to both men and women, before proposing to their now-finance, Kurt Roberts, on the first night of the Adelaide Fringe Festival. While Sheridan’s coming-out as non-binary is certainly something to be celebrated, the actor also shared a powerful message about labels.
Sheridan announced the news via Instagram, posting a caption regarding a recent interview they did with gay lifestyle publication, DNA Magazine. In it, they said: “I am still a human (non binary/bi/me/Hughman) but I’m in a monogamous relationship with another man, who I love.”
Sheridan added, “I don’t accept a label cause it limits me…if you want it; I take it. I choose zero labels for no other reason except the exclusion, limitations, separation…I believe [we] are all one, deep down.”
Sheridan also explained that they are comfortable being called gay since proposing to Roberts. They told the publication, “Now I’m marrying a guy you can call me gay. Whatever! The point is, we’re all human and, in my case, labelling put me into a box that felt like a cell.”
In the hope of increasing the visibility of those within the LGBTQI+ community, Sheridan’s comments are certainly opening the conversation around gender. The gender binary is a Western concept that suggests there are only two genders: male or female. But as many have come to acknowledge, gender identity is deeply attached to one’s internal experience and perception of self and is completely separate to one’s sex. Non-binary refers to someone who does not identify as exclusively man or woman. Some who identify with the term might feel like a mix of both, while others might feel like they have no gender at all. Ultimately, it varies with each individual.
While Sheridan is yet to reveal their pronouns since coming out as non-binary, we are referring to them in a gender-neutral they/them. With so much of our language being gendered, gender-neutral language can go a long way to making those who identify as non-binary feel comfortable, supported and seen.