For Sam Smith, self-acceptance is a gradual, ever-changing process.
The four-time Grammy winner, who appears on the June cover of British GQ, opened up in the accompanying interview about publicly identifying as genderqueer and nonbinary earlier this year.
“Ever since I was a little boy, ever since I was a little human, I didn’t feel comfortable being a man, really,” Smith — whose pronouns are he, him and his ― told the magazine. “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. I realized that’s because I don’t fit into either.”
The 26-year-old first opened up about his gender identity in an October 2017 interview with The Sunday Times, in which he announced, “I feel just as much woman as I am man.” And he publicly used the terms “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” for the first time in a March interview with Jameela Jamil, founder of the body positivity movement “I Weigh.”
“I heard these people speaking — I was like, ‘Fuck, that is me.’ Nonbinary, genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are just you,” he said at the time.
In his GQ feature, Smith said that while he’s still “scared” about navigating his identity in the public eye, he credits his mother with helping him find his truth.
“I was with my mum … and she said something so beautiful: ‘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,’” he said. “Because my mum could see it and that it was a torture going on in my mind.”
“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,” he added.
“She is a queer human being — a very important queer human being — who blurs the lines of gender, which is something that means a lot to me,” he told GQ.