Shawn Mendes apologised to Sam Smith on Instagram after he accidentally misgendered them at a virtual concert. (Emma McIntyre/John Phillips/Getty)
Shawn Mendes has apologised to Sam Smith after he accidentally misgendered them while introducing the singer at a virtual concert.
Smith came out as non-binary and genderqueer in March 2019, and six months later announced that they were changing their pronouns to they/them.
But when they performed at iHeartRadio’s virtual Jingle Ball on Thursday (10 December), Mendes accidentally misgendered Smith multiple times while introducing them.
Mendes apologised to Smith on his Instagram stories on Friday (11 December), writing: “Oh @samsmith I’m so sorry for referring to you as a ‘he’ for your jingle ball introduction.
“It absolutely slipped my mind. Won’t happen again… Sending you so much love! Also you absolutely are one of the funniest people I’ve ever met!”
Smith went on to perform new songs from their third album Love Goes and sang their version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. There was no mention of Mendes’ slip-up during the performance.
Sam Smith was quick to accept Shawn Mendes’ apology.
But Sam Smith went on to show just how gracious and understanding they really are by happily accepting Shawn Mendes’ apology.
The “Diamonds” singer shared Mendes’ post on their Instagram Stories and wrote: “We’re all learning together,” along with two heart emojis.
“Happy holidays, all my love,” they added.
Sam Smith via IG story. https://t.co/WDWtvlqrl2 pic.twitter.com/DUwove0Y3e
— Shawn Mendes Updates (@DailyMendesLife) December 11, 2020
The incident comes just weeks after Smith told CBS that they were completely unprepared for the amount of ridicule they faced after coming out as non-binary.
Reflecting on their coming out experience, Smith said: “Queer people all around the world, we don’t identify within those two places.
“Gender, for me, has been nothing but traumatising and challenging throughout my life. It’s so hard to explain. I just feel like myself. I don’t feel like a man, basically.”
They continued: “2019 for me was a fight with my mental health. For the first time ever, I started to get panic attacks and, you know, feeling anxiety. And I think that’s because I was facing it really for the first time.”
However, Smith said “a weight has been lifted” since they came out – but they have had to endure “bullying” over their gender identity.
“I honestly, I can’t express to enough people how much courage it’s taken,” they said.
“It wasn’t prepared for the amount of ridicule. And bullying, really, that I’ve experienced.
“I mean, honestly, the comments and the types of things that I have to answer and walk through every day is very, very intense.”