Kim Petras may “never cause no drama,” but she’s certainly ready to put an end to it.
At Sunday night’s Grammys (Feb. 5), Petras and Sam Smith took home the award for best pop duo/group performance, making Petras the first transgender winner in the category. In a press conference following her win, the pop singer said that she couldn’t help but think about the people who told her she wouldn’t make it.
“All these years are going through my head of people saying I would be a ‘niche artist’ because I’m transgender and my music would only ever play in gay clubs,” she said, adding that gay clubs “raised” her. “Now, I got a Grammy for making gay club music with my friend, and that’s the best feeling in the world.”
When asked what she hoped people watching could take away from her historic victory, Petras offered up a plea for greater understanding. “Honestly, I just think people need to judge less,” she said. “I hope that there’s a future where gender and identity and all these labels don’t matter that much. I hope all the kids that saw this that are special or different or feel like they don’t belong … feel inspired that, ‘Yes, you can be yourself and get rewarded for your talent rather than your gender or your sexuality.'”
While many watching were excited by the prospect of Petras earning her first Grammy, others online were getting fired up over her performance with Smith. Conservatives online referred to the pair’s fire-and-brimstone performance as “satanic,” with Senator Ted Cruz even weighing in to call the live number “evil.”
As Petras tells it, that was very much the point of their presentation. “It’s a take on not being able to choose religion, and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live,” she said matter-of-factly. “I think a lot of people have labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as ‘religiously not cool.’ I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it, but then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it.”
Petras saved her kindest words backstage for Smith, referring to the singer as “a very special friend” and thanking them for their support since the outset of her career. “It’s really special to share this with someone who’s given me such important advice in my life, who has helped me in dealing with the opinions of people,” she said. “So, yeah, Sam will never get rid of me and we will always sing this song for eternity.”
Check out Petras’ full backstage press conference at the 2023 Grammys above.