Sam Smith on Bullying Within Gay Community: ‘My Whole World Crashed’
Sam Smith is using his celebrity platform to speak out about the abuse he's suffered throughout his life for being gay. In a recent interview, Sam mentions a time he was attacked in public, being bullied for his sexuality when he was as young as 11 years old and even feeling ostracized by the gay community.
Speaking to the Sun, Sam recalled a time he was assaulted by a group of strangers while walking down the street in London. "When I moved to London I got punched in the neck walking back from work," he said (via Buzzfeed). "It was definitely homophobic. I was on the phone speaking quite loudly and had pink headphones on, so it was pretty clear I was gay."
In the same interview, Sam spoke about being bullied at school when he was 11 years old: "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 getting 'f-----' 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."
He also went on to talk about how he was bullied within the gay community for not fitting the ideal beauty standards and what an isolating experience it was for him. He said, "When I was 17 I decided to go gay clubbing in Soho in London. I remember walking in and this gay guy turned to his mate and said something really nasty about me. My whole world just crashed and I had a really lonely feeling. I knew then it was going to take a lot longer to be accepted. There’s a lot of homophobia and bullying in the gay community. There’s also a lot of body dysmorphia in the gay community, which means if you’re not toned and skinny it can be awful."
But Sam decided to take his experiences and channel them into his music in the hopes of inspiring gay people around the world. Speaking with the Evening Standard he said, "I’m just trying to make music that stands the test of time. So that, in 400 years, when a little kid who’s gay listens to In the Lonely Hour, or my next record, he will be inspired. I want to be a different type of pop star. I want to be a pop star who’s not Photoshopped, who’s a straight-on human. Honesty is timeless."
One of his most recent efforts that demonstrates his efforts to help LGBT youth is Sam's participation with the U.K.-based charity, Comic Relief. Sam teamed up with John Legend to re-record his single "Lay Me Down." All proceeds from the song's sale will go to Comic Relief.
"I recently visited a Comic Relief-funded project in my hometown which supports the young LGBT community in London," Smith recalls. "I'm extremely proud that my single will help raise money for projects like this and many others in the U.K. and across Africa."
John Legend also spoke about working with Sam on the song, saying, "Sam is such a talented artist. We've been looking forward to working together for a while now. I'm so glad we could collaborate on such a great song and for such a great cause."
Hear the song below.