Adam Lambert says he's proud of Sam Smith for coming out as nonbinary, comparing the media's fascination with gender diversity to their past preoccupation with homosexuality.
"I think it's a whole new conversation and not a widely explored topic," the singer told British music magazine NME. "The media loves something that feels new and 10 years ago -- in America, anyway -- there wasn't a lot of mainstream music people [from] identifying as gay, so it was a novelty, and I feel there might be some parallels there."
Lambert said that when he first launched to stardom on American Idol, he was too principled not to "be out and open and verbal about who and what I am." He said, "It would be a disservice to fans, the gay community and myself." He added that he's personally "really happy for Sam that they've found their truth and they're feeling liberated by it."
Lambert credited Smith for breaking "through the ceiling" by coming out as a such a high-profile figure. "I'm so proud of Sam," he said. "They're really doing a bold thing... It's time."
He also claimed the "negative reaction" to Smith's announcement of their identity -- which included Piers Morgan misgendering them live on air -- is due to the public "not being empathetic." He hopes that Smith's critics will "stop for a minute and make it not about you and put yourself in the shoes of the person that's being talked about and try to understand their experience -- just for a second."
Lambert believes this mindset will make people realize that having empathy for someone whose experience is different than yours just comes down to "being a decent human being." He said, "People get defensive, saying, 'How dare you ask me to change the way I think!', and just a little empathy would help."