There aren’t many openly non-binary celebrities in the public eye, though thankfully, that list is growing.
Singer Sam Smith opened up about his gender identity Jameela Jamil’s new Instagram show “I Weigh Interviews.” In the past, Smith has publicly explored his gender identity, revealing in a 2017 interview with The Sunday Times that he could “feel just as much woman as I am man.”
In this new interview, however, Smith identified explicitly with the label “non-binary” itself. (Smith has not yet openly changed his pronouns, but this post will be updated to reflect them in the event he does.)
“When I saw the word non-binary/genderqueer and I read into it and I heard these people speaking,” Smith told Jamil, “I was like, “Fuck, that is me.”
Smith described a “wall” in terms of thinking about his gender identity in the past. Despite that wall, the singer felt comfortable enough to describe what genderqueer identity meant to him:
“Non-binary/genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of all different things. You are your own special creation. That’s how I take it — I am not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between — it’s all on the spectrum.”
Smith, who has been outspoken about his sexual orientation in the past, said he has been thinking about his gender using the same framework.
“I’ve always been very free in terms of thinking about my sexuality, so I’ve just tried to change that into my thoughts on gender as well.”
In a genuinely powerful (not just saying that) interview, Smith dug in deep about his body image and gender identity throughout the years. At the age of eleven, Smith revealed, the singer developed “breasts” from an excess of estrogen — not an uncommon problem, he added, among young men. A year later, Smith had liposuction to help him control his weight.
The singer also talked about the more feminine aspects of his personality and his body. By the age of sixteen, Smith revealed, he was beginning to wear fur, leggings, and male make-up to school. As he got older, he moved deeper into his feminine self — even as he sought to develop a Fight Club-style, hyper-masculine body.
“When I move, when I have sex with men, it’s very feminine,” Smith said. “I’ve been very feminine in many ways — and I’ve resented that.”
At points in his life, Smith further revealed, he has considered a sex change:
“I’ve sometimes sat there and questioned, do I want a sex change?” he said. “It’s something I still think about, but I don’t think it is (something I want).”
There aren’t many openly non-binary celebrities — director Jill Solloway, model Ezra Miller, actress Ruby Rose, and drag queen Sasha Velour are the most visible — even as more and more teens identify as non-binary or genderqueer than ever before.
Smith’s interview is a big admission, and a welcome one.