Sam Smith’s response to a TV presenter panicking about their pronouns is a lesson in grace for all of us

Australia, Carrie Bickmore, Entertainment, LGBTQ, misgender, Music, non-binary, pronouns, Sam Smith

Sam Smith at the KIIS FM’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on December 6, 2019. (JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP/Getty)

Sam Smith was as gracious as you’d expect when a TV presenter messed up their pronouns in a recent interview.

The non-binary pop star goes by they/them pronouns, but was entirely forgiving when the Australian talkshow host Carrie Bickmore accidentally misgendered them as male.

She wrote in her Daily Telegraph column on Saturday that she was scared she would offend Smith, and did all she could to avoid it.

“I prepped for my interview, embarking on a crash course in gender fluidity, terrified I might unknowingly offend one of my favourite people,” she said.

But she admitted, “Despite my best intentions, every time I mentioned the interview to people, I’d stuff up the pronouns.

“‘He’s had a fascinating life,’ I’d say. ‘Sorry ‘they’ have had…’ ‘His new music is incredible – argh! – ‘their’ new music,’ and so it went on.”

But when she relayed her difficulties to Smith, they were totally understanding, and admitted that they too make the mistake sometimes.

“I am a human being,” they said, far from offended. “I have been called he and him since the day I was born, 27 years ago.”

Since Sam Smith came out as non-binary last year they have taken pains to reassure those who – with the best intentions – accidentally misgender them.

They previously said that they’re not offended by it as long as people are making an effort, and said that even their own mother struggles to remember sometimes.

“I say to my mum all the time – she will be calling me ‘he and him’ and she is getting angry at herself and it’s OK,” they said. “But it is important, you know?”

Smith added: “All I can say is that when people use my pronouns correctly, it’s a wonderful feeling. I feel safe, I feel happy, and I feel completely seen.”

The singer has been working on their latest album which was scheduled to be released on June 5 with the title To Die For.

However, yesterday they issued a statement saying that both the name and the release date will be changed as it “doesn’t feel right” during the coronavirus pandemic.

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