“The amount of hate and s—tyness that came my way was just exhausting.”
Sam Smith says they’ve been verbally abused in the street since they came out as non-binary in 2019.
In a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the singer — who uses they/them pronouns — recalled how their announcement affected both their personal and public life, detailing the major contrast between the two.
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“So we got two sides, really, my personal life and then my public life,” Smith, 30, explained. “In my personal life, there’s not one negative. My family, they can communicate with me. They always did. But they communicate with me now in an even better way. My love life has become better from it. I feel lovable. I feel comfortable in my skin, but I wear what I want to wear.”
“Since changing my pronouns, it felt like a coming home,” they added. “I wish I knew what the words were when I was in school, because I would’ve identified as that in school. … Because it is who I am and it’s who I’ve always been.”
The “Unholy” singer said the “only negatives and the struggle have been in my public life and my job,” revealing that they were once “spat at” on the street.
“The amount of hate and s—tyness that came my way was just exhausting,” they told Lowe. “And it was really hard and it’s not like, this isn’t me sitting at home Googling my name … It was in the f—ing news. It was hard not to look.”
Smith noted that while they are able to “deal with” and “control” whether or not they Google themselves or read negative comments, the situation out in the street is a very different story.
“What people don’t realize with trans non-binary people in the U.K. is it’s happening in the street,” they said. “I’m being abused in the street, verbally, more than I ever have. So that was the hardest part, I think, was being at home in the U.K. and having people shouting at me in the street.”
“Someone spat at me in the street. It’s crazy,” they added, to which Lowe then asked how that response makes them “feel.”
The four-time Grammy winner said though they’re “nice,” “kind” and “open” to fans who approach them on the street, they can’t help but think about how other LGBTQ+ kids must feel when they walk out in public in the U.K.
“What I find hard about it is it’s like, if that’s happening to me and I’m famous, I’m a pop star, can you imagine what other kids, like queer kids are feeling?” Smith said. “And it’s just so sad that we’re in 2023 and it’s still happening. It’s exhausting and especially in England.”
The “Gloria” singer said that they feel like they can “dress and be myself more” in places like Los Angeles and New York City than they can at home in the U.K.
“It’s a wild feeling,” Smith said, before he then referenced how they felt welcomed by President Joe Biden when they visited the White House. “Having Biden stand up and say all these things. Talking about trans people and how he sees them, he sees us … I haven’t heard that in my own country.”