Sam Smith has admitted that they weren’t prepared for the “ridicule” they faced after coming out as non-binary.
The Oscar-winning star changed their pronouns to they/them in September 2019, some six months after first coming out.
In a new interview with CBS This Morning, the singer, 28, spoke about the challenges of coming to terms with their true identity while facing the public spotlight.
“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’s so hard to explain. I just feel like myself. I don’t feel like a man, basically.”
Smith explained: “I honestly, I can’t express to enough people how much courage it’s taken. 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.”
Smith, who grew up in rural Cambridgeshire, also explained the impact of not having queer role models until releasing debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ in 2014.
“I grew up in a village with no access to queer people and queer spaces until I was 19, 20. So a lot of my growing up was as a gay person and as a queer person has happened in front of people,” Smith explained.
Explaning their own transformation into a role model for queer fans across the globe, Smith added: “It’s going so much better. After being able to talk about my gender expression, I feel such a weight has been lifted.”
Despite sometimes feeling “regret” about being a public figure, Smith explained that recording music helps remind them of their role.
“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 comments follow the release of their latest album ‘Love Goes’, which arrived at the end of October.
In a three-star review of the record, NME wrote: “Despite leaning into the melancholy of their break-up, Smith proves on ‘Young’ that they haven’t given up on love or themselves: ‘I want to be wild and young / And not be afraid to lose/ Cry on my own / Me and my bottle / These are the things I choose.’
“Smith slowly but surely is making their way toward healing, but they aren’t done lamenting what could have been just yet.”