Sam Smith Looks Back at Coming Out as Non-Binary: 'I Wasn't Prepared for the Amount of Ridicule'

Karen Mizoguchi
·2 min read

Alasdair McLellan Sam Smith

Sam Smith is loving their queer identity.

In a new interview with CBS This Morning, the singer, 28, spoke about coming out as non-binary and being their true authentic self in the 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."

The star first found success with the 2014 hit "Stay with Me" and skyrocketed to fame, even winning an Oscar, Golden Globe and many Grammys.

And in September 2019, six months after coming out as non-binary, Smith changed their pronouns to they/them.

"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," the Love Goes hitmaker said of the "courage" to publicly come out and what followed after. "I mean, honestly, the comments and the types of things that I have to answer and walk through every day is very, very intense."

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Smith, who grew up in the small town of Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire, near London, didn't have queer role models until they became famous. "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.

But now, Smith has become a role model for queer youth and fans all around the world.

"It's going so much better. After being able to talk about my gender expression, I feel such a weight has been lifted," the four-time Grammy winner said.

Though Smith "sometimes" feels "regret" about being a public figure, they said music reminds them of their purpose. "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."

CBS Sunday Morning airs Sunday mornings on CBS.