Sam Smith on Coming Out as Nonbinary: 'It Was a Torture' in 'My Mind'

In the June Issue of British GQ, Smith opens up about his non-binary/genderqueer identity

Update: In September 2019, Sam Smith announced that they use they/them pronouns. This content was written in May 2019 before Smith publicly announced their pronouns.

For music icon Sam Smith, his queerness has been a journey of self-identification and understanding. Now, the “Too Good at Goodbyes” singer has taken a new step.

In the upcoming June Issue of British GQ, the multi-Grammy Award winner — who still presently opts for male pronouns — opened up about coming out as non-binary earlier this year, a conversation he previously didn’t know existed in the LGBTQ community.

“Ever since I was a little boy, ever since I was a little human, I didn’t feel comfortable being a man really. I never really did,” Smith, 26, told British GQ. “Some days I’ve got my manly side and some days I’ve got my womanly side, but it’s when I’m in the middle of that switch that I get really, really depressed and sad. Because I don’t know who I am or where I am or what I’m doing, and I feel very misunderstood by myself.”

Sam Smith
Louie Banks
Sam Smith
Louie Banks

He added, “I realized that’s because I don’t fit into either.”

Since discovering this new way to explain his gender identity, the “Stay With Me” singer has felt a sense of relief but still has fear for himself and his family, as he navigates defining his experience to others.

“I was with my mum…and she said something so beautiful,” Smith revealed. “’I’m so relieved that you and me and your whole family have a way to explain this, because it’s also been eating me up your whole life.’ Because my mum could see it and that it was a torture going on in my mind.”

He continued, “But I’m also very scared, because I’ve lived my life as a minority and now it makes me scared because I’m trying to explain it to people around me and they don’t understand. It feels like a new conversation, but I’m now learning it isn’t a new conversation and it’s been around for so long.”

Sam Smith
Louie Banks

The Grammy-winning artist first revealed his non-binary/genderqueer identity in an interview with actress Jameela Jamil in the debut episode of her new Instagram-based show I Weigh Interviews.

“When I saw the word non-binary/genderqueer and I read into it and I heard these people speaking,” Smith told Jamil. “I was like, ‘F—, that is me.’”

The June issue of British GQ will be available on newsstands and digital download on Friday.

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