Singer Sam Smith has entered a new phase of their career with the release of their latest album, Gloria. Perhaps best known for soppy ballads, Smith is now making more proudly queer music and playing around with their style in music videos like the one for ‘Unholy.’ That song became Smith’s first chart-topper in the U.S. and broke down barriers thanks to the inclusion of trans pop singer Kim Petras. Reviews for the album have been strong, and it’s being sold as a ‘personal revolution’ for Smith. Good on them. Shaking up your image and experimenting is the best part of being a singer. The video for their newest song, ‘I’m Not Here to Make Friends,’ recently dropped and it’s a bacchanalian frenzy with nipple pasties, chandeliers, and the suggestion of a golden shower. It’s pretty fun!
AND, OF F*CKING COURSE, the losers of TERF Island cannot handle this.
I don’t even want to repeat the dirge of nonsense being directed at Smith, the most bad-faith kinds of dog-whistles that lean heavily on mocking their body and playing into transphobic harassment. The right-wing losers at the Spectator wrote a screed about the ‘embarrassing terribleness of LGBTQIA+ culture’ to attack Smith. ITV host Richard Madeley misgendered Smith during their bout of concern trolling. The usual cries of it being ‘unsuitable for kids’ reared their ugly heads, while the QAnon-esque babbling about ‘degenerate Hollywood culture’ popped up once more. I’m not going to link to the worst of this. Spend a few minutes on Twitter or browse the expected far-right sandpits if you wish to see it for yourself.
Where do we even begin with this nonsense? Because that’s what this is: utter stupidity. I felt like we’d hit a time warp and were back in the ’80s when people were banning the video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ and having the Catholic Church condemn Madonna for ‘Like a Prayer.’ The arguments were almost identical, which is a disheartening reminder of how little these scare tactics have changed over the decades.
And make no mistake: The very deliberate and amplified attacks on Sam Smith are intended to play into those very tropes. We’ve seen how all forms of queerphobia have been wildly inflated over the past couple of years. Transphobia is at an all-time high, reinforced in public policy across the planet then turned into a debate of ‘concern for women’ by ghouls like Joanne the full-time TERF and her cohorts. The mere presence of queer people in any form of pop culture leads to weeks of mouth-frothing fury from Fox News hosts and squeaky-voiced YouTubers who have turned hate speech into profit at a record pace.
So, it’s no surprise that a non-binary singer, perhaps the most famous one in the business right now, who is playing with gender norms and embracing their own queerness in their art, should face such hate. It’s all part of the same agenda: to undermine and erase all forms of non-conformity in the mainstream. These people aren’t actually disgusted by the image of Sam Smith in a feather headdress making jokes about sex. They’re not afraid that the kids will be warped by the implication of pee. They just want a new easy target to demonize an entire community in the name of ‘concern’, and a hell of a lot of people are letting them do it. There’s always money in anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda.
And that doesn’t even get into the fatphobia that Smith has faced. Just let them be! Shock horror, people of all sizes want to get freaky!
I hope Smith has good people around them right now. It’s a terrifying time to be trans and non-binary in the U.K., which seems to have reinvented itself as the super-villain floating island base of TERFs everywhere. Keep on with the feathers and hot dudes in corsets, Sam!
Never too much ✨ pic.twitter.com/ANKVPEvoXV— SAM SMITH (@samsmith) January 29, 2023