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Sam Smith on Feeling ‘Just as Much Woman as I Am Man’

“Looking back on it, it was the fear of saying the wrong thing and offending,” Smith says of waiting to come out

sam smith on gender fluidity

"Looking back on it, it was the fear of saying the wrong thing and offending," Sam Smith says of why he waited to come out.

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Prior to the release of his sophomore album, Thrill of It All, Sam Smith told U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times about his own gender fluidity. 

“I love a heel,” Smith said. “I’ve got loads of heels at home. … People don’t know this, but when I was 17, I remember becoming obsessed with Boy George and Marilyn, and all that. There was one moment in my life where I didn’t own a piece of male clothing, really. I would wear full make-up every day in school, eyelashes, leggings with Dr. Martens and huge fur coats – for two and a half years.”

“I don’t know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man,” he added, explaining that he doesn’t consider himself a cisgender man. (The British singer also made mention of his favorite drag shop in Sydney, Australia, House of Priscilla, which he raids every time he’s in town: “Oh, my God, I just buy everything – heels, dresses,” he said. “We have a great time.”)

Smith, who came out publicly in May 2014 in the lead-up to the release of his debut album, In the Lonely Hour, also addressed his sexuality. 

“Looking back on it, it was the fear of saying the wrong thing and offending,” Smith said of why he decided to wait before coming out to fans. “And I was 19 when I started writing the first album. I’d just moved to London from a village – I was literally the only gay in the village. I didn’t know what I wanted to say.”

Part of his hesitation, he explained, was in wanting to have his talents be the topic of conversation, not his sexuality.

“I remember, at the beginning of my career, being called a ‘gay singer,’ and I didn’t want that,” he said. “I wanted to be seen as a singer first, before people spoke about my private life. And now it’s changed – I’ve changed. I realize that maybe I don’t mind that title.”

Smith added that his new songs mark a departure from his former, more reticent self, now that he is able to be more open about who he is.

“I think they show my growth, my confidence,” he said of the tracks off his upcoming album. “I feel like they show me. They show the gay guy I’ve become.”


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