Kim Petras Wins Her First Grammy and Thanks “Incredible Transgender Legends” in Her Speech

Kim Petras Wins Her First Grammy and Thanks “Incredible Transgender Legends” in Her Speech

The song that took over TikTok in the fall of 2022—in fact, are you sure it’s not still stuck in your head?—has won Kim Petras her first Grammy. The singer took the stage with co-performer Sam Smith at Sunday night’s Grammys ceremony, where she became visibly emotional at the momentous occasion: She is the first openly transgender woman to take home the little gold gramophone in the Pop Duo/Group category.

The win for this particular song, “Unholy,” marks an intriguing chapter in Kim’s career, as someone who has struggled with the stigmas of religion. “As someone who’s been transgender my whole life, I never fit into [organized] religion,” she told in a November 2022 interview. “I had a lot of religious friends, and I would go to their first communion and things like that, but I was never really accepted into that world because who I am opposes what is acceptable in religion.…Everybody else had a chance to be religious, and I never did. So for me, it’s been a lifelong struggle to find spirituality in other ways.”

She later added, “There’s a narrative [thread] from ‘Unholy’ to ‘If Jesus Was a Rock Star,’” another one of the performer’s songs, “but the new song is about how if religion accepted everyone, then maybe I would’ve been a religious person. I just never had the chance.”


Music was one of her avenues to explore spirituality outside of traditional religion. In her Grammys acceptance speech, Kim mentioned the discography of late (and legendary) trans musician Sophie as a particular source of power. “Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie,” she said. “I adore you and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”

Read Kim’s full acceptance speech below:

“This song has been such an incredible, incredible journey for me. And Sam has been a supporter of mine for so long. Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award.

“And I just thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight: Sophie, especially, my friend who passed away two years ago, who told me this would happen and always believed in me. Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you and your inspiration will forever be in my music.

“Madonna, for fighting for LGBTQ rights so much. I don’t think I could be here without Madonna. My mother—I grew up next to the highway in nowhere Germany, and my mother believed me: that I was a girl. And I wouldn’t be here without her and her support. Everyone who believed in me to this point, I love you so much. The Recording Academy, thank you. This is a huge moment for me. Sam, thank you. You are a true angel and hero in my life, and I love you and everyone who made the song too. I love you guys so much.”

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