September 16, 2020
This year, we saw a lot of celebrities come out of their closets. One such story came from the British singer, Samuel Frederick Smith aka Sam Smith. Sam Smith shot to fame with his song, Latch. And then began his career in music that we all know of today. And when they came out of the closet, it was something to behold in awe.
Sam Smith is hands down one of the best singers of the time. Not only a good singer but they are an honest person who opened up about their issues with weight, and not fitting into boxes. In a conversation with Jameela Jamil, the body-positive activist, strong-voiced feminist, and the actress from the show, ‘The Good Place’, Sam Smith opened up about their gender identity and their debate with it.
Non-Binary And Gender Queer
This exchange between the two was back in March. Sam Smith came out and said that they did identify as male or female but rather “float somewhere in between—somewhat on the spectrum”. The realisation of not identifying as either or usually happens early in life. With gendered spaces everywhere, it is difficult not to enter a space and not push yourself into a particular gender box.
But this is an imperative moment, for people who identify as non-binary, like Sam Smith. There is a lot of freedom that comes with understanding yourself and your needs. Even though they learnt pretty early of their non-coherence, they came out to the world only in September 2019.
A good portion of the population struggles to understand the words that form that LGBTQIA+ or the idea of a spectrum. And to arrive at the conclusion that you are what you are, and not what you have been told all this while, is the statement of freedom.
I Have Arrived!
In conversation with Billboard, Sam Smith discussed their process with the song “Dancing With a Stranger”. According to Pride, they credited working on that song as launching them “into a really beautiful space of writing and freedom.”
In the interview, he said, “There’s a femininity within that song that has ignited a flame within me; it triggered the transition I’ve made into a nonbinary person”.
They collaborated with a former Fifth Harmony singer Normani, and the song has been making the rounds since January this year. This was two months before Smith came out as nonbinary.
“I had just gone through a breakup and the last thing I wanted to do was write a sad song,” they said of the writing process. “I was listening to a lot of really sexy music because it made me feel better, so I wanted the song to capture what I was doing: going to clubs and kissing people.”
As mentioned earlier, The singer’s revelation that they identify as nonbinary and genderqueer came during an interview with The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil back in March.
And only in September did we see Smith make an announcement to the world! Smith told the world that they are now using they/them pronouns. In a heart-warming “Instagram post they mentioned that they had always been “at war” with their gender and finally decided to no longer give any fucks about what other people think.”
Sam Smith In A Second
Soon after Smith announced that they are genderqueer and non-binary, the entire LGBT+ community and their allies cheered them on! We soon saw the star singer strut around in a black gown and embrace their self in their entirety. Not only did we witness Sam Smith grow out of their shell, but also into an icon for those who identify themselves as non-binary and genderqueer. Talking about body shaming, coming into terms with how they looked and felt, to dancing in a gown in broad day-light, Sam Smith had a hell of a run this year, and we absolutely stan their journey!
We often forget to understand that celebrities lead such a public life that they often have no private space for thoughts and dealing with their emotions. Everything they do becomes a public business. So to speak about internal conflicts and dilemmas out to the public takes courage. The fragility of the situation, especially like in this case, reminds us why we need more voices from the community. The freedom to come out is emancipatory in its own sense. As people of the general population, we often can afford to keep our identities private, but the case can be tricky for public figures. That is another reason why we must break the stigma around being anything but straight. We are in for a long haul, and when celebrities like Sam Smith, Lilly Singh, or even Harry Styles speak up, there is more fuel to the fire. A fire that can burn through medieval thoughts of gender-binary!
Kudos to Smith, we are glad they found their truth and we pray for some more amazing music!