British singer Sam Smith has revealed he was the victim of an intense bullying campaign at secondary school.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper he told of his coming out, and the homophobic abuse he received, both verbal and physical.
‘The toughest time for me was my first year in secondary school when I hadn’t come out as gay. It was actually the denying of being gay that was getting me bullied.’ he said in the interview.
‘I remember walking to the station getting ‘faggot’ shouted at me all the time.’ he reminisced, ‘It was the most mortifying thing. Not so much for me. I knew these people were stupid, uneducated twats.’ he said.
He also spoke of being physically assaulted when moving to London: ‘ I got punched in the neck walking back from work. It was definitely homophobic. I was on the phone speaking quite loudly and had pink earphones on so it was pretty clear I was gay.’
Sam is now a multiple-award winning world renowned artist, and he intends to use his status to target homophobia: ‘I can speak about this from a position of power, compared to two years ago where it would have been pissing in the wind. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere. But I’ve sold loads of records now and I have a voice.’
Smith’s out was made easier by chat show host Ellen DeGeneres: She said to me that the fact that I’m openly gay and doing what I’m doing is an important thing. She said a kid who is feeling suicidal will look at me and say, “He’s accepted so it’s OK, I want to be like him”. That’s why it’s so important.’