kim petrasStefan Dege Kim Petras, born in Cologne, Germany, has become the first openly transgender singer to win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. She was born in 1992 and raised in Hennef, Germany and underwent long rites of passage before becoming the first publicly transgender and non-binary solo artist to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts with their single “Stay With Me” and the singer topped the UK charts eight times. His collaboration with English singer Sam Smith has catapulted Petras to the next level of pop, and he has written songs for American rapper Fergie and R&B singer Rihanna. For International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated on March 31st of each year, here’s more about Kim Petras’ story.
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Born in Germany, Kim Petras went through long rites of passage before becoming the first openly transgender singer to win a Grammy Award. For International Transgender Day of Visibility, here’s her story.
When Kim Petras teamed up with English singer Sam Smith on “Unholy,” a song about male infidelity and the betrayal of the ideal of marriage, she didn’t expect to make history.
But now, German pop singer Petras is the first transgender woman to win a coveted Grammy in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category.
At the Grammy Awards on February 5, 2023, Petras thanked the “transgender legends before me who opened these doors so I could be here tonight”. She nodded to pop star Madonna for her fight for LGBTQ rights: “I don’t think I could be here without Madonna.”
She also expressed gratitude to her mother. “My mother – I grew up next to a highway in nowhere, Germany, and my mother believed I was a girl, and I wouldn’t be here without her and her support,” said Petras.
As of October 2022, duo Petras and Smith had already become the first publicly transgender and non-binary solo artists, respectively, to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts with their single.
While Smith’s 2014 single “Stay With Me” was a No. 2 hit – and the singer topped the UK charts eight times – this was new ground for Cologne-born Petras.
Having written songs for American rapper Fergie and R&B singer Rihanna, he earned comparisons to Lady Gaga and scored a viral hit on Spotify with 2017’s “I Don’t Want It At All” (the video features a cameo by Paris Hilton), the LGBTQ star was yet to reach the pinnacle of pop.
Now, his collaboration with Sam Smith singing about a “dirty, dirty boy” has catapulted the trans musician to the next level.
It was, however, a long journey to get there. For the International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated on March 31st of each year, here’s more about Kim Petras’ story.
Born in Cologne in 1992 and raised in nearby Hennef, Kim Petras was already coming to terms with her identity at the age of two.
“I always felt like a little girl. I hated my body when I was five,” she told Die Zeit newspaper. “I couldn’t identify with the genre, I wanted it gone.” She ran across the room with scissors, wanting to “cut it off,” she said.
The child suffered from being trapped in the wrong body. “I was lucky to have parents who really understood me,” she said. But others showed far less understanding.
“There were strange doctors,” she recalls, “who told me, you’re crazy.”
Some classmates also bullied her on the playground. At the age of 10 she began to see psychologists.
Two years later, she changed her first name to Kim. She sometimes went to school in latex clothes. “At least I wanted to be dressed up if someone threw school lunches at me,” she recalled.