Sam Smith Blurs Gender Lines On 'Out' Cover

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Sam Smith, who publicly adopted the gender-neutral pronouns "they" or “them” in September, graces the cover of the new issue of Out.

“I have never felt as free as I did the day of this cover shoot,” Smith tweeted on Monday, adding that they were “eternally grateful” to the magazine. The Grammy-winning singer also thanked outgoing editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi “for believing in me and creating such a beautiful safe space that day.”

Smith is featured as “Evolution of the Year” on the annual Out 100 list. In a photos by Terry Tsiolis, they play with looks that blur gender lines.

“I feel happier and more comfortable within myself when I’m wearing more feminine clothes, which I’m experimenting with more and more,” Smith said in a Q&A. “When you’re comfortable with yourself, I feel it threatens other people who are uncomfortable within themselves. How does it affect you that I want to be called they? Why does it affect you so much?”

In an Instagram post in September, Smith shared: "After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out ... I hope you can see me like I see myself now."

MORE: Sam Smith Adopts Gender-Neutral Pronouns

Smith told Out they felt “incredible freedom” in changing pronouns. “It’s like a brick was lifted off my chest, and with that freedom comes another kind of pain,” they explained. “Feeling this free in our skin is answered with abuse. And that’s really hard … But I’d rather be myself, even if it means being abused for it. I’d rather get all this s**t for being myself than lie to myself. That’s not a way to live.”

The singer spoke about how being comfortable in their own skin has had an impact on the music they’re now making.

“There was something blocking me when I was writing my last album (2017’s The Thrill of It All) because I felt like I was playing this ‘Sam Smith’ character that I created,” they recalled. “I was depressed because I was this person in suits who other people wanted me to be.

“I feel my music suffered. I think people can hear that. As soon as I came out with ‘Promises’ and  ‘Dancing With a Stranger,’  I started playing. I started having fun. I started being myself. My art has become truer and more honest after coming to peace with being non-binary.”

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