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According to The Sun Smith has reportedly requested friends and family use they/them pronouns instead of he/him when referring to the singer.
By way of illustration of the star’s preference, the ‘Stay with me’ singer thanked Hits Radio presenter James Barr for referring to the star as ‘they’ on Twitter.
“Just interviewed @samsmith and they sounded so happy and free and more themselves than ever,” Barr tweeted. “It’s made me feel like the world is a good place again.”
Smith replied: “You’re one of the first people to use these pronouns with me. Thank you. That feels really beautiful.”
LGBT charity Mermaids were among the tweets praising Smith for opening up about his gender identity and language preferences.
Others, however, seemed a little confused by the pronoun request.
Earlier this year Smith revealed they now identify as non-binary saying they feel “like a woman sometimes” and has considered having a sex change.
During an interview with Jameela Jamil on Instagram TV, the British singer spoke about listening to conversations about being non-binary and realising that is how they identify.
“When I saw the word ‘non-binary’, ‘genderqueer’, and I read into it, and I heard these people speaking I was like, ‘F***, that is me’,” they told the presenter.
“I’m not male or female, I think I flow somewhere in between. It’s all on the spectrum,” they continued.
Smith had they always resented being “feminine in many ways” and describes being non-binary as being “your own special creation”.
The importance of language to non-binary people
Sam Smith described the term as being a “mixture of all different things”, but being non-binary can mean different things to different people.
People who identify as non-binary may identify as a combination of different genders or as none at all, as the National Centre for Transgender Equality explains.
“People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common,” it states.
Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender and more.
“Non binary is the term used by people who do not identify with traditionally binary (male or female) roles, instead they take a more fluid approach to their gender,” explains Dr Helen Webberley who runs GenderGP.com, a website providing healthcare, support and information for transgender, non-binary and gender questioning individuals and those who care for them.
“Sometimes a non binary person may feel more male, sometimes more female, or they may find themselves somewhere in the middle.”
As indicated by Sam Smith’s preference for the terms ‘they’ or ‘them’ Dr Webberley says language used can be important to some who identify as non-binary.
“A person’s non binary status is often expressed in their choice of clothing and a preference for gender non specific language and lifestyle choices,” she explains.
“Names and pronouns can cause difficulties as the use of ‘he’ or ‘she’ just doesn’t feel right for the non binary person, equally, the often preferred pronouns of non binary people: ‘they’ and ‘them’, can feel strange for others to use when referring to an individual,” she adds.