Her unholiness Kim Petras is breaking barriers as the first openly transgender woman to win a Grammy for Best Pop/Duo.
On Sunday night, the 30-year-old German singer took home a Grammy in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for "Unholy," her collaboration with singer Sam Smith, with whom she likewise makes history as the first nonbinary duo.
While delivering an emotional acceptance speech, Petras thanked Smith, who ceded the stage for her to appear solo, as well as transgender artists who have come before her — calling out the late Sophie, who was nominated for a Grammy before her death in 2020.
"I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends performing who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight," she said. "[Sophie] told me this would happen, and always believed in me. Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you."
Petras also cited Madonna as a champion of LGBTQ rights in entertainment, saying, "Madonna for fighting for LGBTQ rights, thank you so much, I don't think I could be here without Madonna," she said. Madonna later introduced Smith and Petras for their live performance of "Unholy."
Finally, Petras thanked her mother for believing in her, nodding to her upbringing by noting that she hails from "nowhere Germany": "My mother believed me that I was a girl and I wouldn't be here without her and her support."
Ahead of the awards ceremony, Petras and Smith hit the red carpet in matching red outfits accompanied by a similarly crimson-hued entourage. The group included drag queens Violet Chachki and Gottmik who joined them on stage for their performance.
While not the first trans artist to win a Grammy, Petras certainly is one of the most visible. Wendy Carlos was the first openly trans woman to win taking home three Grammy awards for her album Switched-on Bach in 1968. Brazilian singer-songwriter, Liniker, became the first trans artist to win a Latin Grammy in 2022.
This Grammy marks a fifth win for Smith, who first took home a gilded gramophone in 2015. The 30-year-old "Lay Me Down" singer came out as non-binary in 2019, and changed their pronouns to they/them that year.
Petras and Smith's song previously achieved an unprecedented milestone when Petras became the first trans artist to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. That accomplishment fulfilled a personal goal for Petras, who told PAPER back in 2017: "I just want to prove people wrong. I want to get a Number 1 on the [Billboard] Hot 100."
Photo by Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
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