Sam Smith Comes Out As Non-Binary; Changes Pronouns To 'They/Them'

Photo: Instagram 
Who Is Sam Smith? New Details On The Signer Who Just Came Out As Non-Binary

Recently, a cis-man I know professionally, we will call him Asher, explained to me his frustration over non-binary pronouns. He couldn't wrap his head around the fact that he was being expected to refer to a male-presenting colleague as "they/them." I explained to him what identifying as non-binary meant, and how important it is to address someone by the right pronouns, but it didn't seem to click for him until he heard the news about Sam Smith. Who is Sam Smith? They're the non-binary popstar who recently announced that their pronouns are "they/them," and when you read their explanation it'll click for you too if it hasn't already. 

1. Who Is Sam Smith?

Singer Sam Smith is promoting the conversation about gender identity in a truly joyous way. Smith, 27, came out as being non-binary about six months ago now, and on Friday, September 13th Smith announced that they are going by the pronouns, they/them. They made this announcement on Instagram, a platform where Smith doesn't just connect with fans, but with others who may be struggling with their own gender identity. “MY PRONOUNS ARE THEY/THEM. Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM. After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out," they wrote. 

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2. Speaking Their Truth

Sam's enthusiasm is palpable in the deeply touching post that they shared with the world. “I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f— it! I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me as I see myself now. Thank you," Smith wrote. But they weren't just posting to share their own good news. Smith knew just how important this stance was for gender identity. 

3. The Importance of Visibility 

See, Smith knows that while they are comfortable in their own skin, others out there might still be struggling with their own issues regarding gender and sexuality. Just by being visible, they're making an important stand. "I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non-binary but I can’t wait for the day that I am. So, for now, I just want to be VISIBLE and open. If you have questions and are wondering what this all means I’ll try my best to explain but I have also tagged below the human beings who are fighting the good fight every day. These are activists and leaders of the non-binary/trans community that have helped me and given me so much clarity and understanding," they wrote, directing fans to tagged individuals for further guidance. 

RELATED: What Is Gender Dysphoria & How Does It Affect People Who Are — And Are Not — Transgender?

4. What Does Non-Binary mean? 

For many people, even progressives, the terms genderqueer and non-binary are often used interchangeably and very often misused by people who aren't actually totally clear on the meaning. GLADD says that the terms genderqueer and non-binary are “used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer.”

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5. Smith Coming Out 

While the announcement of Smith's preferred pronouns is news, the fact that they identify as non-binary isn't. In fact, Smith came out half-out a year ago while appearing on Good Place star Jameela Jamil's Instagram show, I Weight Interviews. For Smith, the discovery of their true identity was an important, dare I say, critical realization, as it for so many others. “When I saw the word non-binary/genderqueer and I read into it and I heard these people speaking. I was like, ‘F—, that is me," they said. The adoption of the correct pronouns was just another step in their amazing journey of self-discovery. 

RELATED: How Many Genders Are There — And Why Does Talking About The Spectrum Of Identity Matter So Much?

6. Opening Up With The World 

The conversation with Jamil wasn't the only one where Smith publicly discussed their journey. They talked about it at length in a recent magazine interview: “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, but 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," said Smith about their struggles. 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.