On his Facebook page, singer Seann Miley Moore has taken advantage of Facebook’s custom gender options. He lists his gender as plural, a mix of genders. His 3,000 followers regularly see Moore in sheer tops, pencil skirts, and a shaved head sporting a backwards baseball cap.
But now as a breakout star of the U.K. reality competition show The X Factor, he’s introducing a lot more people to the concept of living as someone who is—as Moore puts it—a mix of genders.
"I defiantly identify as genderqueer," Moore, 24, told Fusion.
“It's very important to express yourself through fashion, music, through—I don't know, just screaming at the top of your lungs. If it makes you feel happy and great, then do it,” Moore said on X Factor last week.
In the last two decades, gay personalities on broadcast TV have undoubtedly acted as catalysts to increased acceptance around the world. But we still haven’t seen many representations of people who don’t conform to traditional ideas of gender—that is to say, people whose gender falls on a spectrum and don’t present as male or female.
But now thanks to, of all places, X Factor, the world is getting to know someone who was raised in Indonesia and Thailand (before moving to Australia in 2003) who happens to be genderqueer and refers to himself as a “boy from Oz.”
The 12th season of X Factor premiered in the U.K. last week, but already Moore’s rendition of Queen’s "The Show Must Go On" has become a fan favorite. The video of his first audition has more than two million views on YouTube.
"In a world where society makes us feel wrong for dressing the way we want, being who we want to be, indeed the show must go on," Moore wrote in an update on Facebook. He tagged the post with a link to GenderFluid Life, a Facebook group that shares tips and styles for people who identify as gender fluid.
"I was literally spellbound for that whole performance,” said singer and X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini after Moore’s audition. “You were fearless, you were sharp, you were sassy, you were just giving us everything. You were amazing,"Fernandez-Versini said.
Moore told the X Factor judges he booked a one-way ticket to London two weeks ahead of the audition for the sole purpose of auditioning for the show.
“I love and hate performing. It’s where I’m most comfortable but also most petrified. If you really want to let out everything you feel, the stage is where to do it,” Moore told The Barker, the magazine at his alma mater Barker College.
After Barker College, Moore attended the prestigious Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, the same school Hugh Jackman credits for his success. Moore was accepted after his third try.
Moore told The Barker the biggest challenge in his life has been "dealing with my sexuality and not changing who I am to fit in.”
Competitive reality shows like The X Factor and American Idol have included LGBT performers from the beginning. Singer Adam Lambert was the runner up on the eighth season of American Idol and went to become the first openly gay artist to debut on the No. 1 spot of the Billboard album charts. The openly gay Austrian drag queen and singer Conchita Wurst also made international headlines when Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014.
Moore told X Factor judges that in Australia he received a mixture of reactions for expressing himself through music and fashion. But he said, so far, Londoners have been more supportive.