It’s obvious to anyone with ears that Sam Smith has experienced his share of romantic turmoil, but the out British singer recently revealed that he was also the victim of a more troubling form of emotional trauma — antigay bullying.
In an interview with The Sun, Smith spoke candidly about coming out at age 11, his run-ins with homophobic classmates and his conscious decision to become more of a LGBT advocate.
He told The Sun:
“The toughest time for me was my first year in secondary school when I hadn’t come out as gay. It was actually the denying of being gay that was getting me bullied.
“Guys were asking me all the time, ‘Are you gay?’ I would say no and that would rile them up even more. I came out at the end of year seven when I was 11. That shut a lot of the bullies up.
“A bunch of boys from a rival school would shout insults at me as I walked from my home to the train station. I remember walking to the station and getting ‘faggot’ shouted at me all the time.
“It was the most mortifying thing. Not so much for me. I knew these people were stupid, uneducated twats. But I was upset as I was with my friends and I wondered if they were embarrassed to be walking with me because people are hurling abuse. I hated the fact my friends had to listen to that.”
Smith later revealed that once he was physically assaulted on the streets of London in what he is certain was because of his sexuality:
“When I moved to London, I got punched in the neck walking back from work. It was definitely homophobic. I was on the phone speaking quite loudly and had pink earphones on, so it was pretty clear I was gay.”
He also spoke about his shift towards LGBT advocacy, a change that he didn’t think would happen when he first came out publicly:
“I can speak about this from a position of power, compared to two years ago where it would have been pissing in the wind. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere. At the beginning of last year I wasn’t talking about my sexuality as much. But I’ve sold loads of records now and I have a voice.”