"[Gaga] gave me complete permission to be myself and to be proud of my queerness. It was a form of expression, but it was also weirdly a form of protection."
Sam Smith says Lady Gaga helped them realized they were "Born This Way" -- and to be "proud" of it.
While detailing their skincare and makeup routine for Vogue's "Beauty Secrets," the Grammy winner, 28, opened up about their journey with their gender identity and explained how Gaga, 34, was the "reason" they were able to accept themselves as non-binary.
After noting they came out as gay at age 10, Smith said, "When I hit 14, 15, I started to really question my gender and started to really want to express myself in ways that I felt like I had to as a form of survival to be honest. Makeup for me was the way to do that."
"It doesn't matter whatever gender you are, you know, it's a form of expression and it feels nice," they continued. "As I was getting older, [makeup] just became more of a way to express my gender."
The "Diamonds" singer went on to express their love of the lipgloss from Gaga's makeup brand Haus Laboratories and shared how the pop star inspired them to be open about their gender identity.
"Gaga is probably the reason why I actually came to terms with my gender," they explained.
"I was 15 when 'The Fame' came out and I was obsessed with Lady Gaga," Smith said of Gaga's 2008 debut album. "She gave me complete permission to be myself and to be proud of my queerness. It was a form of expression, but it was also weirdly a form of protection."
The "My Oasis" singer said this security "was a way of almost saying to the homophobes and the bullies 'stay away from me' a little bit because I'm confident and I'm powerful in my queerness."
Smith came out as non-binary in March 2019. A few months later, in September, the "How Do You Sleep" singer announced they had decided to change their preferred pronouns to "they" and "them".
"Today is a good day so here goes. I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤," Smith wrote at the time. "After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out. I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f--k it!"
"I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you."
Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out... pic.twitter.com/IVoLTYbAWd