Sam Smith on being non-binary: ‘I didn’t feel comfortable being a man’
Sam Smith has opened up about identifying as gender non-binary and said he “didn’t feel comfortable being a man” since he was a child.
“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. Some days I’ve got my manly side and some days I’ve got my womanly side,” Smith told British GQ in an interview published in the magazine’s June edition.
The singer—who also said he still uses he/him pronouns—continued: “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,” Smith revealed.
Smith previously revealed in an interview with Jameela Jamil in March that he identifies as gender non-binary.
Speaking at the time, Smith said: “When I saw the words ‘non-binary’ and ‘genderqueer’ and I read into it and I heard this people speaking, I was like, ‘F**k, that’s me.’”
Sam Smith said his mother could see that he was ‘tortured’ before realising he was non-binary
In his GQ interview, Smith revealed how his mum reacted to the news that he is non-binary, and called the moment “beautiful.”
Smith told the magazine that his mother told him: “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 his mother could see that he had “a torture” going on inside him.
“Some days I’ve got my manly side and some days I’ve got my womanly side.”
— Sam Smith
On embracing his identity, Smith said: “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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Smith revealed that his first experiences with the gay community after leaving the small village he grew up in were “quite violent and scary.”
Sam Smith’s early sexual experiences ‘stunted’ his belief in love
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“It was mainly sexual,” he said. “I didn’t realise how awful they were until I started therapy and started to uproot some of that stuff. It was a lot. Those first experiences, they weren’t very kind. I wasn’t hurt, it wasn’t anything absolutely awful, but it was traumatic.
“It wasn’t a good welcoming into my sexual life and my life as a young man. I think it definitely stunted my belief in love at times.”
He also said that gay men tend to reach sexual maturity later than their straight peers as they take longer to come out and understand their identities.
“I think it’s the root of all my problems and sadness,” Smith said. “When it comes to work I feel like a 40-year-old man—my responsibilities, where I live, it’s nuts. But in terms of my romantic life I feel very young, very inexperienced. It’s really hard. I think that’s the same for all queer people.”
See the full feature in the June issue of British GQ available on newsstands and digital download on Friday 3rd May. GQ Heroes in association with Flannels takes place 8-10 May at Soho Farmhouse.