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Sam Smith says he is 'nonbinary, genderqueer,' describes 'war within'

David Oliver

British musician Sam Smith said he identifies as nonbinary and genderqueer in a new interview with "The Good Place" actress and body image advocate Jameela Jamil.

When the Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer was 16 years old, he stopped wearing boy's clothes, he told Jamil on the first episode of her "I Weigh Interviews" series on Instagram. Smith, 26, would wear leggings and full makeup every day, saying he became a "gay clown" in the village he grew up in.

Smith's style evidently changed as his music career grew, though his feelings have since caught up with him. 

"I've always had a bit of a war within my body and my mind... I do think like a woman sometimes in my head, and I've sometimes sat down and questioned, 'Do I want a sex change?' And it's something that I still think about," he said.

But Smith said that's unlikely. When he saw the words nonbinary and genderqueer, and heard people speak about it, he had a revelation: "(Expletive), that is me."

British musician Sam Smith said he identifies as nonbinary and genderqueer in a new interview with actress Jameela Jamil.

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To Smith, being nonbinary and genderqueer means that you do not identify with a single gender. He says gender is on a spectrum, as is sexuality. "You fall in love with people, not genitals," he said.

Smith did not reveal a pronoun preference in the interview. 

"People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common," according to The National Center for Transgender Equality. "Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender, and more." 

"Maybe I'm not a man, maybe I'm not a woman, maybe I'm just me, and maybe that's OK," he later added.

Smith, who came out as gay when he was 10 years old, also talked to Jamil about his body image issues.

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"I was so self-conscious that (his weight) was affecting my mood every day and my life as a teenager," he told Jamil when discussing his body. It turns out he had more estrogen in his chest than many other boys and Smith subsequently had liposuction when he was 12 years old.

Smith has lost a significant amount of weight in recent years. Last month, he posted a shirtless picture of himself on Instagram, reclaiming the narrative around his body.

"Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off, but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things," he wrote.

Jamil started the "I Weigh" movement as a social media campaign to combat body shaming. The interview series, beginning with Smith, celebrates the movement's one-year anniversary.