Musician Sam Smith came out as nonbinary and genderqueer in an interview with actress Jameela Jamil.
Smith discussed his body issues in the debut episode of the Instagram show I Weigh Interviews.
Over the course of a half-hour interview, Smith described issues he’s faced his entire life, including developing breasts around age 11 and being told by a doctor he had an excess of estrogen in his chest.
While he came out as gay at age 10, he said he’s struggled with issues of gender well into adulthood. Smith described the issue as closely associated with body dysmorphia that prevents him from seeing his own weight and body as others do. He recently shared a shirtless image of himself in the name of body positivity.
In the past if I have ever done a photo shoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down. Yesterday I decided to fight the fuck back. Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally. Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things. Thank you for helping me celebrate my body AS IT IS @ryanpfluger I have never felt safer than I did with you. I’ll always be at war with this bloody mirror but this shoot and this day was a step in the right fucking direction
The Oscar- and Grammy-winning “Dancing With a Stranger” singer has discussed his feelings on gender before, saying in 2017 that he could “feel just as much woman as I am man.”
But in the interview with Jamil, he embraced the “nonbinary [and] genderqueer” identity.
Jamil asked Smith what the terms meant to him personally. For Smith, they both mean “you do not identify in a gender.”
“You are a mixture of all these different things. You are your own special creation,” he said. “That is how I take it. I am not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between — somewhat on the spectrum.”
It’s impacted all parts of Smith’s life, he said.
“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].”
Smith said he has always viewed sexuality as a spectrum, and that he’s been with men who identify as straight but are not “fully straight.”
“I’ve always been very free in terms of thinking about sexuality,” he said. “I’ve tried to change that into my thoughts on gender.”
Even in his sex life, he can feel female, he said.
“When I move, when I have sex with men, it’s very feminine,” he said. “I’ve been very feminine in many ways — and I’ve resented that.”
Smith said he’s dealt with gender issues throughout his life, and at age 16 stopped wearing boys’ clothes to school. He wore leggings, fur, and full makeup instead. In a village where he was the only out teenager, he became the primary example of what being queer was for those around him.
But moving to London and dressing that way brought him to a more sexually normative environment. He stopped dressing in that style and soon adopted suits that became his signature look just as his star began to rise around age 20. That look was largely about concealing weight issues, the singer said.
The majority of his conversation with Jamil revolves around weight and body issues. But he said his struggle to have a more manly, ripped physique often ran up against the most feminine parts of him.
Now the 26-year-old said he can act as a bit of a spokesperson for those who are genderqueer and those with body issues. But he said it’s an issue he still struggles with personally. Smith warned others that the journey takes time and did not mention any personal changes to the current gender pronouns being used to describe himself.
“Self-love, I think people think it's a destination,” he said. “It’s a practice.” And contentment with his own body image is something Smith expects to struggle with through life.