It can be so hard to talk about our personal lives, especially during a time when so many people seem willing to have a strong opinion on social media. The fear of backlash silences many regular people, so it must be extra daunting for someone in the public eye who could literally face millions of negative comments.

One star, Sam Smith, is refusing to let this silence him and his willingness to be open and honest could give so many the courage to do the same.

While speaking with The Sunday Times, the 25-year-old singer explained, “I don’t know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man.”

Smith went on to say that this extends from his personal encounters to even his wardrobe choices. “I love [wearing] a heel. I’ve got loads of heels at home. There was one moment in my life where I didn’t own a piece of male clothing, really. I would wear full make-up every day in school, eyelashes, leggings with Dr. Martens and huge fur coats, for 2.5 years.”

While he proudly sports two Venus symbol tattoos on his fingers today, he admits that it wasn’t always easy to be so forthright about his sexuality.

“Looking back on it, it was the fear of saying the wrong thing and offending…” he explained. “And I was 19 when I started writing the first album. I’d just moved to London from a village — I was literally the only gay in the village. I didn’t know what I wanted to say.”

So many people say that pouring themselves into a passion, whether it’s music, art, writing, or some other outlet, can be so cathartic and freeing. Maybe writing that first album and feeling successful has given him a greater sense of confidence so that he can more fully embrace his true self. Whatever the case, it’s a great example for anyone who finds themselves feeling similarly.

Currently, Smith is exploring a new relationship and is linked to Brandon Flynn who stars in the controversial Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why.