There's no question that Sam Smith has had a whirlwind year since reaching stardom status in 2014 with hits like "Stay With Me" and "Latch." In what was a surprising move to some, he upped the ante in the headlines while publicly coming out as gay just as his career was starting to take off. And now, Sam Smith has opened up about growing up gay, including both the struggles and triumphs, to Rolling Stone in a new interview.
Smith described being bullied by some of his peers for his sexuality, including, sadly, a recent physical attack against him on the streets of London. He also opened up about falling for straight men and dealing with the unrequited love that inevitably followed, as well as having some one night stands and dealing with some "dodgy" friends. But he also revealed that some of his peers were very supportive of him in the tough times.
He came out at the young age of 13, which shows that he was very in tune with who he was even in the midst of those awful puberty years. In opening up about his less-than-stellar past, Smith sends a positive message to his young gay fans about remaining true to yourself, even though people might not always respond well.
Smith remembers a moment of intolerance when he was walking through his hometown with his father when he was younger. Someone drove by and yelled a gay slur at him. But afterward, Smith said he actually felt worse for his father than he did for himself. He said,
I was just embarrassed that my dad had to see that, because I could only imagine how you feel as a parent. You just want to kill them.
Anecdotes like these, along with a sweet story about confessing his love to an older, more popular guy at his high school who was straight but an ally to him, willing to look after him and make sure no one bothered him for it, illuminate Smith's honesty with himself about who he is.
You also have to take your hat off to Smith for being so specific in regard to his experiences. While it has long been debated whether it is necessary for gay celebrities to come out publicly at all and while some gay celebrities do just fine not making a big deal about their sexuality or going into too much detail, there is something to be said about Smith's raw honesty.
After all, if some of his gay fans, especially young gay fans, read his words, they might find that they can relate to some of his past experiences. Since Smith has had such huge success, he can serve as a good role model to show that you can move past the tough times — and even during the hard days, there will be people out there who will be willing to lift you up.
You can check out the whole interview in Rolling Stone on newsstands on Jan. 30.
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