It’s been a topic of conversation almost everywhere that I’ve looked over the weekend that Sam Smith has come out as non-binary. Does this effect anybody who isn’t Sam Smith? No. Does this hurt anybody? No. Is everybody still talking about it? Yes. So now I’m going to put my two cents in.
I’m a glutton for punishment and because of this I quite often will read comments on things that I know are going to be bad. Things that will make me angry, or sad for the future of the world, the future of children or anybody struggling within themselves, the future of those who are not struggling with their identity as such, but with the idea of being open and honest and living their truth. Why do I do this? Maybe it’s to reinforce, at times, the level of my own self-hatred. I’ve never liked myself and according to certain comment sections neither have many other people. As just one example; I will often see a ‘plus size’ model and read negative comments and think, well shit – I sure am right to hate myself and the way I look.
This evening however, aside from the massive amount of hate I see regarding the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, I’ll keep it focussed. I could spend hours talking about why public hate is so detrimental to the health of the LGBTQ+ community, but that’s not the inspiration for this post and so I’ll wait for another day. As I sit here writing this glass of wine at the ready for the passionate opinions, I’m about to thrust upon you, dear reader, I’d like to remind you that you are reading this by choice. At any point in time you are more than welcome to exit the page, move onto another post or blacklist me from your reading catalogue. I will never force my opinions onto anybody in a way that leaves them feeling as though it’s the only opinion, but hate speech is dangerous.
You’ll notice the use of the words hate speech and I’m pretty sure that each and every one of you reading this will have been confronted by the use of those words. You don’t do that, you would never, that’s an awful thing. You’re righthate speech is awful, dangerous and damaging. Can you be sure that nothing you have said over the past couple of days, or ever, isn’t hate speech? The comments I’ve seen in discussion about Sam Smith are not isolated incidents, these are not comments exclusive to this, these comments are spread far and wide across the internet about all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
His sales must have stopped, he’s doing this for attention.
It’s a mental illness.
He’s obviously unwell.
This wouldn’t be news if he wasn’t a singer.
This isn’t something to be proud of.
It’s not natural.
These are just a few of the comments I have read over the past couple of days. Whilst it’s true that this probably wouldn’t make headlines if they weren’t famous, it’s so important that it has. It is something Sam Smith should be proud of for the rest of their life. Previously I’ve provided a perspective flip about cisgender heterosexual people. If you haven’t read that, and you can’t understand why Sam Smith coming out is so important, maybe you should.
Hate speech is damaging. This isn’t the same as discussion about whether chicken of beef is the superior protein. This is discussion about self-worth, about validity, about equality. If you consider yourself an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, or you are a member of the community, then you should be over the moon about Sam Smith’s coming out.
As a young person, I can remember my teenage years well. I was bullied, I was uncertain, in many ways I was scared. Scared of myself and those around me, scared of my family. I still am. Sitting here, two glasses of wine deep and midway through cooking my butter chicken, at no point am I not thinking about who I am as a person because of societal pressure and attitudes.
For the greater population one negative comment will stay with someone far longer than a positive comment, if you are the minority then congratulations – your input is that much more important. Why? Because you already don’t particularly care what those around you think. The way I see it, if someone is happy and it’s not hurting you then why the fuck can’t you be happy for them? For those who say they don’t understand, you do not need to understand to support. I don’t understand people who enjoy eating raw fish, but they don’t force me to eat raw fish and that’s all that matters. I don’t personally care what somebody’s preferred pronouns are – you do you, I’ll do me. Respect is important. Sam Smith deserves respect, not because they’re famous, but because they’re a person.
I’m trying desperately to not waffle on here, which is hard considering I’m now three wines deep and probably won’t stop if I continue to think about this. With that being said, I’m going to finish up this post right now and maybe re-visit the topic in the future. After I’ve spent 12 months writing in my diary about it and my own thoughts but not when I’m comfortable and confident within myself because that may never happen.
My parting words to you are: this is natural, it’s occurring naturally. Sam Smith is entitled to be whoever they are, identify however they choose. And – would you feel this way if it were your child? Would you be okay with hateful comments, would you say this about your own child? Would you want your child to have positive representation, positive role models, positive ANYTHING to reassure them? Would you force your child into a box regardless of whether it made them unhappy?