Sam Smith may or may not have come out as nonbinary.
If you were to Google him this past week, this news was the top result, the product of an interview between Smith and Louis Wise of the Sunday Times:
Does he feel like a “cis” man? “No,” he scoffs. “I mean, I’ve got these tattoos on my fingers” — he flashes two delicately etched Venus symbols, one on each hand. “I don’t know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man.”
LOUIS WISE, SUNDAY TIMES
This is the second time that Smith has sat down with Wise. At their first, back in 2014, Wise was primarily set on yanking Smith out of the closet, and Smith wasn’t taking the bait. Three years on, we’re seeing a different Sam Smith. More confident, more queer, more fuckable in a conventional sense, and on the eve of his second album, The Thrill of it All, Smith is more present in the public eye than ever.
In this light, Wise and his editors must be thrilled at what is now being characterized as this second coming out. By throwing around the words “gender nonbinary”—despite them never being used by the interviewee himself—the cisgender media outlets that have picked up the story can count on it drawing clicks from sympathetic and hostile readers alike. Meanwhile, there are bigger questions being left unasked. Most importantly: what does this kind of publicity mean for young trans and queer people?