File-This Feb. 20, 2019, file photo shows singer Sam Smith posing for photographers upon arrival at the Brit Awards in London. The Oscar-winning pop star has declared his pronouns “they/them” on social media after coming out as non-binary in his “lifetime of being at war with my gender.” The English “Too Good at Goodbyes” singer said Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, he’s decided to “embrace myself for who I am, inside and out ...” (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)
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Sam Smith announces new pronouns of 'they' and 'them'

46 Comments

Sam Smith has declared the pronouns of "they/them" on social media after coming out as non-binary in what the pop star called a "lifetime of being at war with my gender."

The English "Too Good at Goodbyes" singer was met with thousands of mostly supportive comments, along with some detractors who questioned the need to change pronouns, an increasingly common practice both within and outside of the LGBTQ community.

"Today is a good day so here goes. I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM," the 27-year-old Smith wrote on Twitter and Instagram. "After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out."

Smith said they were excited and privileged for the support, adding that they've been "very nervous" about the announcement because they "care too much about what people think." Smith said they finally decided to go for it.

"Love you all," Smith wrote on Twitter, adding they're scared "but feeling super free right now. Be kind."

Smith said they remain a work in progress.

"P.s. I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary but I can't wait for the day that I am. So for now I just want to be VISIBLE and open."

Smith won an Oscar in 2016 for the song "Writing's on the Wall," from the James Bond thriller "Spectre." They received global attention by winning a Grammy for best new artist in 2014, following up with a Grammy for record of the year in 2015 for "Stay With Me."

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46 Comments
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Non-binary is so negative sounding. Should be called polynary.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Grammatically, I cringe. Plural for a singular person...and not even a royal speaking for whole nation. Would feel better with "it" or even a new word to avoid the grammar issue.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Smith said they finally decided to go for it.

I can accept this guy's right to mangle the language and its meaning when it comes to how he describes himself, but I don't accept that the news sources reporting it have to go along with him.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Since we get to choose...I’d like to be referred to as “the swarm”

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I will now only answer to: The man, the myth, the legend.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I thought he came out as gay a while back too. You can't be homosexual AND agender. Homosexual means a man attracted to a man or a woman attracted to a woman. If anything, being a nothing makes him heterosexual now.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This is all so silly & unnecessary, far too many are quick to take silly offense at nothing these days, they think they are the only ones that have to deal with LIFE growing up...…..hint you are NOT!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Smith said they were excited and privileged for the support, adding that they've been "very nervous" about the announcement because they "care too much about what people think." Smith said they finally decided to go for it.

I'm having a hard time understanding this statement. Is talking about himself or his supporters? How would you know either way. The stupidity of the far left knows no bounds.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It sounds weird due to it sounding plural but being singular. I knew someone who went by these pronouns last year, and whenever someone referred to “they”, it was consuming. But I got used to it soon enough. And if they feel better being referred to that way, I’ll do it. I thinks it’s silly, but it also affects me none whatsoever, so it’s no big deal. I don’t know why people get so freaky about this kind of thing.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Choose whatever pronouns you want, I don't care, but do not see it as an assault or personal attack if someone who doesn't know you uses the wrong ones when addressing you. It's happened to me.

To be honest, the whole NB/pick n mix pronuns stuff is gross narcissm.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary

Yeah, I'm not sure anybody actually is.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

From yesterday's Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/sep/13/pronouns-gender-he-she-they-natalie-wynn-contrapoints

I saw a quote that said people use pronouns based on how they perceive an individual, so I think you are fighting a pointless and futile battle trying to police the perceptions of others.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, is that all 7bn plus of the rest of us "officially" informed and is he and his PR team going to spend the rest of his life policing our speech?

+1 on the epidemic of narcissism emanating from the Liberal Fascists and the "Land of the Free to Tell Other People What To Do" over this business.

Didn't the Canadian Jordan Peterson get himself in a real pickle about just this issue, causing a big stir among the Alt Right by refusing to bow to them?

Apparently human rights legislation prohibits "discrimination based on gender identity or expression" and we are all supposed to use alternative pronouns such as a singular 'they' or 'ze' and 'zir'.

How is one ever supposed to keep up with all the permutations?

I'm still having a hard enough job working out imperial and metric.

WTF is going in on American liberal campuses (because it appears that zey are really where it is all coming from), copy and pasted into other legislations?

In Peterson case, proponents had complained to his employer, a University, that his comments are "unacceptable, emotionally disturbing and painful".

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Since we get to choose...I’d like to be referred to as “the swarm”

You might wanna capitalize that before someone else does.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thinks it’s silly, but it also affects me none whatsoever, so it’s no big deal. I don’t know why people get so freaky about this kind of thing.

It does affect you because you're being forced to speak in a way that is grammatically incorrect to make someone else happy. It's also confusing depending on the context.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

you're being forced to speak in a way that is grammatically incorrect

Oh no. The horror. The horror.

Language changes and evolves. It always has, it always will. Your protestations don’t match with the way the world works.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

They are nuts.

Oops sorry.

They is nuts.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The pronoun and non-binary thing is fine.

His music just bores me to tears, though. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They are nuts.

Oops sorry.

They is nuts.

I confess, I laughed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

To be honest, the whole NB/pick n mix pronuns stuff is gross narcissm.

That's pretty much it. Eventually that's what peace and prosperity lead to. Time for the next civilization to take over.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Strangerland

I don’t know why people get so freaky about this kind of thing.

Because in a case like Peterson's they get threatened with losing their jobs or even tenures for failing to comply with the latest politically correct fad.

ze, sie, hir, co, ey, mx, zhe, zher, zhim, jee, jeir, jem ... I mean, there's no way on earth you can keep up with them all.

Personally, I'll just stick with the universal 'gfy' and call them what I like.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Smith said they finally decided to go for it.

This sentence is so confusing. “They” is a plural pronoun, so it sounds like he’s talking about a group of people.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Because in a case like Peterson's they get threatened with losing their jobs or even tenures for failing to comply with the latest politically correct fad.

Yeah, that's not cool. But that's also a pretty extremist situation. And not exactly the same.

This guy is asking people to call him they/them. In Peterson's case, they were trying to force it.

I don't believe in forcing speech.

But I also don't believe in being a jerk to someone just because they are doing something that is outside of my everyday norm.

So if someone wants me to use they/them, I will.

And if I forget and they are a jerk, I'll say 'sorry dude'.

You people on the internet always have to make such a big deal of everything though. You'd think asking to be called they/them is the start of WWIII.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM,"

Should that not be, ‘It’s decided it is changing its pronouns to THEY/THEM.”?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So they are changing his (their?) pronouns... Do his (their?) possessive adjectives automatically follow? Personally I thought it was selfish attention seeking... but then I realized it's not about him.

I'm with you guys that think it's stupid but if people want to do it then let them. It'll take time for me to get used to it though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They is nuts.

They certainly is, isn't they...

I can't believe that is grammatically correct.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But I also don't believe in being a jerk to someone just because they are doing something that is outside of my everyday norm.

Most thoughtful people will agree with that sentiment.

I am fine if someone tells me they are a dog trapped in human body. They can do all the dog stuff they want, chase cars, eat from a bowl on the floor, wag their tail. No problem.

But when they roll over and loudly demand I rub their belly, that's where I will become "a jerk" to them.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

P.s. I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary but I can't wait for the day that I am. So for now I just want to be VISIBLE and open.

Meaning, "I don't know what I am, but I want you to call me that."

Somebody's been drinking the kool-ade.

Or should I say, some people have?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I might respect a person's wishes to be called such pronouns in the same way as going along with a mentally challenged persons fantasies. -Just to keep the peace and humor them.

But the difference is that the mentally challenged can't help their sickness and require sympathy and help. But Mr. Smith just loses my respect.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Language changes and evolves. It always has, it always will. Your protestations don’t match with the way the world works.

Yes, but it happens organically and over time. Someone doesn't just demand that people speak in a way they are not used to or comfortable with to make them happy. That's the definition of selfishness.

Like another poster said, you can pretend to be a dog but don't ask me to rub your belly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Incorrect grammar, I can put up with (Heaven knows I get enough of it on a daily basis, when proofreading).

What I will not put up with is sheer incomprehensibility.

'Smith said they were this that or the other' is telling us about more than one person. Who else besides himself is he referring to?

If he doesn't want to be referred to using the pronouns that attach naturally and logically to his physical form, fine, use something else.

But don't hijack existing pronouns that already have a job to do.

I suggest:

s/he →se

him/her →herm or hirm

his/her →hes

Another point is the arrogance of telling other people how to speak. When speaking of hermself, se will naturally use only I/me/my. I'm sure the rest of us can decide for ourselves what pronouns we want to use so as not to confuse folk.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

More nonsense coming from the uk this week (bojo, cameron, now smith). What's going on!? Americanisation of the uk right before our eyes. Reminds me of Prince when he wanted to be called 'symbol'.

Vince Clarke, Andy Bell, J Sommerville & the many other gay/bi british singers of the 80s/90s never came up with such utter nonsense.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Strangerland: Language changes and evolves. It always has, it always will. Your protestations don’t match with the way the world works.

I think this is part of the problem, however. This isn't evolution. Compare it to natural evolution - giraffes didn't decided to grow their necks real long suddenly. Due to slowly changing environmental situations, they needed to reach the leaves on higher trees, and over generations and generations their bodies responded and adapted. The language issues we're talking about have appeared suddenly and are being forced quite strongly upon a public that is largely unaware that a problem even exists, much less that there is a pressing need to adapt to it. I'm not making a stance that people should or shouldn't comply here, by the way. It's just that I've heard this "evolving language" point brought up several times, and I think this is anything but. And that's what is making people oppositional toward it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

cleo: Another point is the arrogance of telling other people how to speak.

I agree, cleo. It's one thing when we make rules about what people CAN'T say. You can't threaten to blow up a building, sure. You can't lie about your age to get a job, sure. You can't pretend to be a police officer, sure. I think these are all reasonable exceptions to "freedom of speech" that we can see the purpose for.

But requiring people TO SAY something is not the same thing at all. That's a move that's attacking people's free will, and is dangerous in society.

Of course, I'm referring to legal requirements, and this gender/pronoun situation isn't there...yet. Sam Smith is asking is to do something - and like cleo said, it's arrogant.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Language changes and evolves. It always has, it always will.

True, but evolving is different from a prescriptive change. It will take more than one person changing their pronouns to effect change. (See what I did there.) But maybe a few catchy and popular songs that we all get comfortable with could help move things along.

But don't hijack existing pronouns that already have a job to do.

I agree, but wouldn't "it" be the easiest to switch to? We have no real linguistic need to distinguish between people and objects when using a pronoun, and we already drop the distinction when using the plural. We use "it" for machines that sometimes take on human-like roles. We also use "it" for babies. (Is it a boy or a girl?)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Smith said they were excited and privileged for the support, adding that they've been "very nervous" about the announcement because they "care too much about what people think." Smith said they finally decided to go for it.

In future articles/interviews etc. about or with 'They' those who aren't aware of this announcement will be confused as to who is being talked about.

If They wants to think that way, it's fine with me. The trouble is that we are gradually being coerced and forced to go along, have it taught to our kids in school etc.

This gender bending insanity is leading to more and more confusion. Who do these people think they are to unilaterally decree that rock solid biological facts are not so, introduce confusing changes to language and then tell us we're 'bigotted', 'rude' etc if we refuse to go along, or worse yet, ridicule us, persecute us, fine, us, get us booted out of our jobs, jail us, etc.

It's time to rise up and say a firm 'No' to this insanity.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Concerned Cit.

Best post every on JT

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Burning Bush

Concerned Cit.

Best post ever on JT

Just common sense my friend.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Apparently, the Vietnamese language doesn’t distinguish one’s gender, as in he or she, do it is feasible. However, English is inherently different from Vietnamese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Registering sexuality from the outset, isn’t really necessary with such fine facial hair...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A media promotional propaganda blitz, something to sell.

If Smith has belly buttoned, could have refrained from gender dysfunctionality, instead of succumbing to a pompous, binary ludicrous 'they' and 'them' agenda.

Smith, Mr They and Them, would have taken the obvious course of action, a taken intensive gender counselling.

Smith is a casualty of our times, media acceptance to a frivolous fool with his head on the wrong way up.

If Smith could comprehend his grammatical stupidity they would take a step in the right direction.

But Smith, them in their psychotic entity are too wrapped up their own celebrity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This guy should be strung up by his toes for daring to challenge grammatical accuracy.

Doesn't he know language never has and never will change?

And doesn't he know just how extremely offensive that is to try to use a grammatical structure that people are not used to using? That is seriously about the worst possible offense a human living amongst other humans in society could make. It's unforgivable, and in the Age of Outrage, we are EXTREMELY outraged. Not a little, not a lot, EXTREMELY!

We. Are. Outraged.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's unforgivable, and in the Age of Outrage, we are EXTREMELY outraged.

Stranger's gotta point.

Mr. Smith and his liberal friends claim they'll be outraged unless we change the way we speak to conform to their proclivities.

We shouldn't allow their claims of outrage to affect us.

Let's continue to speak how we were taught in school instead of bowing down to these "outraged" liberals.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

 Reminds me of Prince when he wanted to be called 'symbol'.

In his defense, that was more a way to get out of a terrible record contract than anything else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who is this now?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But we use "they" to refer to a singular person all the time when we don't know the gender.

"Someone broke into my house. They stole everything"

There's no reason not to at least attempt to use the pronouns someone asks for except to be a jerk to them. Yeah, if you make a mistake once or twice it's inevitable but actively refusing is just being obstinately mean. It causes you zero harm to use the pronoun that someone prefers.

And to everyone suggesting "it" in place of "they", the issue with that is that "it" is usually used for things that aren't considered people, and trans/non-binary people have enough issues being dehumanized already.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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