"I've been through stuff, but I'm lucky because none of it has damaged me," Smith says
After winning four Grammys, Sam Smith has decided to tell his story about growing up gay and being bullied.
The 22-year-old singer has also taken a vow to stand up for gay kids.
“At the beginning of last year I wasn’t talking about my sexuality as much,” Smith tells The Sun. “But I’ve sold loads of records now and I have a voice. I can speak about this from a position of power, compared to two years ago where it would have been p—ing in the wind. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere.”
Smith says he was getting bullied even before coming out as gay at 11 years old. He says that as a child, boys would come up to him and ask if he was gay, and when he replied “no,” it would rile them up even more.
He reflected on a time when a bunch of boys were shouting insults as he walked to the train station with friends, and he was mortified that his peers were there to witness.
The abuse turned physical when he moved to London – he says he got punched in the neck while walking back from work.
“I’ve been through stuff, but I’m lucky because none of it has damaged me,” Smith says. “My parents were amazing, but there was only so much advice they could give.”
Ellen DeGeneres applauds what he’s doing. When he appeared on her show in December, she told him that a kid who is feeling suicidal will look at him and say, “He’s accepted so it’s okay, I want to be like him.”
Smith went to visit METRO, a equality and diversity charity, and met a man named Fred who shared his story about being suicidal, but is now a happy 28-year-old.
“Talking to Fred made me realize what a lifeline METRO is for young people afraid and lonely because the world refuses to accept them, but strangely visiting also made me kind of jealous,” Smith says.
He wishes there had been a place like METRO to turn to when he was younger and the only openly gay guy at school.
“If people let you be yourself, you can be. And that’s what this project is doing,” Smith says.