British newspaper The Sun today broke the news that Sam Smith has requested friends and family refer to the singer as ‘they/them’, but then immediately referred to them as “him”.
The article reported that the ‘Dancing with a Stranger’ star allegedly made the request to their close circle after coming out as non-binary and genderqueer six months ago.
“This is a decision Sam has thought long and hard about, including doing a lot of reading on up it”, an anonymous source, said to be a friend of Smith’s, told The Sun.
But many LGBT+ people quickly noticed that the article misgendered Smith within the first line.
The first line read: “Singer Sam Smith has asked friends and family to no longer refer to him by gender – instead using to use ‘they’ rather than ‘he’.”
While the article reported that they just want “family and pals” to use gender-neutral pronouns, Smith later dropped an Instagram post on the same day asking that everyone refer to them as such.
They said that they had been “at war” with themselves over their gender identity. “I understand there will be many mistakes and misgendering, but all I ask is you please, please try,” they added.
As a result, some took to Twitter to ask that The Sun amends the article.
Sam Smith deserves “respect,” says trans advocacy charity.
Mermaids, a British charity that supports trans and gender-diverse children, slammed the story for misgendering Smith.
“Today’s news concerning Sam Smith will inspire many non-binary people to walk a little bit taller today,” a Mermaids spokesperson told PinkNews.
“Our ‘enby’ kids and young people often feel completely unacknowledged so having an international star representing their gender identity like this is massively empowering.
“Unfortunately, the article in The Sun newspaper belies the fact that we still have a very long way to go in respecting non-binary people in the press.
“Surely, if a newspaper chooses to gain ‘clicks’ by stating someone’s non-binary pronouns in a headline, it would then want to afford that person some respect by using their correct pronouns in the body of the piece.
“Of course, it isn’t for us to take offence on Sam Smith’s behalf, but for the non-binary people we work with, we’d respectfully ask The Sun to correct the piece and lead the way in gender acceptance in the mainstream media.”
Smith thanked Hits Radio presenter James Barr this week for a tweet using Smith’s preferred pronouns.
Barr tweeted: “Just interviewed @samsmith and they sounded so happy and free and more themselves than ever. It’s made me feel like the world is a good place again @hitsradiouk.”
Smith replied: “You’re one of the first people to use these pronouns with me. Thank you. That feels really beautiful.”
PinkNews contacted to The Sun for comment.
Smith came out as non-binary and genderqueer six months ago.
The Grammy Award-winner publicly came out as non-binary and genderqueer in an interview with Jameela Jamil’s Instagram Live show I Weigh Interviews.
“I’ve always had a little bit of a war going within my body and my mind,” Smith told The Good Place star.
“I do think like a woman sometimes, in my head. Sometimes I’ve questioned ‘Do I want a sex change?’ and it’s something I still think about, like: ‘Do I want to?’”
They added: “But I don’t think it is. When I saw the words ‘non-binary’ and ‘genderqueer’ and I read into it and I heard this people speaking, I was like, ‘F**k, that’s me.’”
“Non-binary genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of different things, you are your own special creation. That’s how I take it.
“I’m not male or female, I think I flow somewhere in between. It’s all on the spectrum.”