Sam Smith says Lady Gaga inspired them to come out as non-binary: 'She gave me permission to be myself’

Sarah Young
·3-min read

Sam Smith has credited Lady Gaga with helping them to come out as non-binary.

In the latest episode of Vogue‘s Beauty Secrets video series, the singer opened up about their gender identity and the part that Gaga’s 2008 album The Fame played.

“I was 15 when The Fame came out and I was obsessed with Lady Gaga,” Smith said.

“For me, she gave me complete permission to be myself and to be proud of my queerness. It was a form of expression, but it was also weirdly a form of protection.”

The “To Die For” singer added that Gaga’s music felt like a “form of protection” from bullies.

“It was a way of almost saying to the homophobes and the bullies: ‘Stay away from me, because I’m confident and I’m powerful in my queerness’,” they explained.

During the video, in which Smith detailed their skincare and make-up routine, they also reflected on how important beauty has been to their gender expression.

“When I hit 14, 15, I started to question my gender and started to really want to express myself in ways I felt like I said to as a form of survival,” they said.


“Make-up for me was the way to do that.”

They explained how they used to feel "left out” as a teenager when their female friends would go to make-up stores, adding: “I was like, this shop isn’t for me, makeup isn’t for me.”

However, Smith explained that one of their friends helped them realise that make-up can be for everyone.

“It doesn’t matter what gender you are, it’s a form of expression and it feels nice,” they said.

“To have that time and take that time each day to touch your face and put things on your face I think it’s really special.”

After coming out, Smith said their passion for beauty was reignited, adding: “Last year, when I changed my pronouns and really spoke out about my gender expression and my gender fluidity, I started falling in love with make-up all over again.”

In September 2019, Smith came out as non-binary on social media and revealed that they would be using they and them pronouns going forward.

“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,” Smith wrote at the time.

“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.”

They continued: ”I understand there will be many mistakes and misgendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you.”

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