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Champions of Pride 2023: Sam Smith Adds Queer Joy to the World of Pop

Champions of Pride 2023: Sam Smith Adds Queer Joy to the World of Pop


<p>Champions of Pride 2023: Sam Smith Adds Queer Joy to the World of Pop</p>
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The nonbinary “Unholy” singer uses their voice for more than just chart-toppers.

Over the course of their stellar career, Sam Smith has never stopped pushing boundaries. Not content to be anything less than their authentic self, the English singer-songwriter came out as nonbinary in September 2019. “I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out,” Smith wrote on Instagram.

Smith has been in touch with their gender nonconformity since childhood, and music was a means to tap into their femininity. “When I was a child, I put in my earphones and I became the woman of my dreams [for] a little bit. I came out when I was 10 years old, and music was my safe space,” the star told Out shortly after coming out as nonbinary

For Smith, being themself also means being one of the greatest pop singers of their generation. And with five Grammy Awards to their name — four of which they won for their debut album — a Golden Globe, and an Oscar (both for Best Original Song in 2016), they’ve got the trophies to prove it.

Smith earned their most recent Grammy for “Unholy,” a collaboration with trans pop icon Kim Petras. With this award, Petras and Smith made history, becoming the first transgender and nonbinary artists to win the Grammy for Best Pop Duo Performance. “Kim...what magic you are. You are a treasure and an inspiration to so many,” Smith said of Petras in an Instagram shoutout.

Though they faced widespread transphobia for coming out as nonbinary, Smith hasn’t let their haters slow them down — or cover them up. In the face of internet outrage, the singer continues to promote body positivity and queer self-expression in interviews, on tour, and in music videos. They have faced backlash for performing an onstage striptease in BDSM gear, and for showing off their body in the music video for “I’m Not Here To Make Friends.” But to Smith, it’s “never too much” when it comes to self-love, as he shared in a recent Twitter post.

When you look back at all they’ve accomplished — in music and in queer and nonbinary visibility — can you blame Smith for loving themself? But they won’t be satisfied until all trans and nonbinary people can love themselves just as freely.

“I’m a pop star,” Smith said in an interview for Apple Music. “Can you imagine what other kids, like queer kids, are feeling?” Smith can, because they’ve been there.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty ImagesLeft to right: Kim Petras, Sam Smith, Violet Chachki, and Gottmik on the red carpet at the 2023 Grammy Awards

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