Singer Sam Smith recently got candid about their gender and how they weren’t prepared for the hate and bullying they were met with when they came out as non-binary last year.
The "I'm Not The Only One” crooner spoke about their identity with Anthony Mason on CBS This Morning on Thursday, November 19.
"I honestly, I can’t express to enough people how much courage it’s taken," the Grammy winner said. "I wasn’t prepared for the amount of ridicule. And bullying, really, that I’ve experienced. I mean, honestly, the comments and the types of things that I have to answer and walk through every day is very, very intense.”
“Queer people all around the world, we don’t identify within those two places. Gender, for me, has been nothing but traumatizing and challenging throughout my life,” Smith said.
It wasn’t easy to come out, and the buildup to making the announcement had a negative impact on Smith’s mental heath. In fact, it was so daunting that it was the first time in their life they ever started to get panic attacks and anxiety.
"2019 for me was a fight with my mental health," they admitted. More than a year later, things are much brighter for Smith as they now feel a "weight has been lifted." They came out in September 2019 and said their pronouns are "they/them." But it has still been a "hard few months" due to the pandemic as Smith has been unable to perform.
"Today is a good day so here goes. I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out …" they shared on social media last year when they came out.
"I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f**k it!" they added. "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you."
Several celeb friends rushed to support Smith, such as Demi Lovato who said she was "so proud." Jonathan Van Ness had nothing but "love love love" for the announcement, and singer JoJo said she loved Smith.
Smith shared that they grew up in a village with "no queer people and no queer spaces" in a small town outside of London, England. "A lot of my growing up as a gay person and as a queer person has happened in front of people," they said. Smith was only 22 when their breakout hit "Stay With Me" was released in 2014.
Although Smith has been out a long time now, they still have to answer questions about their gender and see hate comments. Smith has moments where they regret being a public figure but is grateful for their career. "I always come back to music,” Smith said. “At the basis of all of this, people, hopefully, still want to hear me sing and I still love singing so that’s what gets me through all of it.”
Smith’s new album, Love Goes, was released last month, so it looks like they’re sticking around, despite the haters.