Kim Petras becomes first trans artist to get a Number 1

Emma Guinness

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Kim Petras becomes first trans artist to get a Number 1

Featured Image Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo/@kimpetras/Instagram

Kim Petras has made history by becoming the first openly transgender artist to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

The singer, 30, wasn't alone in her achievement and it was made alongside Sam Smith, who is the first openly non-binary person to reach the top spot.


The pair achieved the feat on Monday (24 October) with their hit single 'Unholy' which took the crown from 'Bad Habit' by Steve Lacy.

Before Petras' recent success, the only trans artist to reach the Billboard top 40 were Honey Dijon and Ts Madison who worked on Beyoncé's 'Cozy' that took the 30th spot earlier this year.

Kim Petras in the 'Unholy' music video. Credit: EMI
Kim Petras in the 'Unholy' music video. Credit: EMI

In an interview with Billboard, Petras said that she hopes she is not 'the last' transgender artist to reach the number one spot and hopes to 'break the cycle' when it comes to their success.

She said: "There's always been incredible and talented trans artists, and they have been paid dust, you know?

"I mean, I was friends with SOPHIE - her influence can be heard on practically every popular song these days. But in her lifetime, she didn't get what she deserved to get.

"Looking at artists like Amanda Lear in the '70s and '80s, who was an absolute disco queen, she got paid dust. People don't talk about her the way they should. Ayesha Erotica has been so influential for me, and did not get what she deserved at all.

"That same story just keeps repeating over and over for trans girls who have been making exceptional music and have been pushed under the rug while someone else takes credit from them."

Petras and Smith have made music history. Credit: Instagram / kimpetras
Petras and Smith have made music history. Credit: Instagram / kimpetras

As reported by Vulture, the success of 'Unholy' began on TikTok, where the song went viral before gathering enough momentum to debut at number three on 3 October.

It continued to grow in popularity on platforms including streaming services before it ultimately hit number one this week.

The song is also the first track largely featuring a gay porn star in its music video to take the top spot, with adult film actor Paddy O'Brian prominently starring in the vid.

Reacting to news of the number 1 on Instagram, Petras wrote: "I'm so grateful. Sam I can't thank you enough for riding with me for years at this point.

"I’m so [honoured] to be a part of your first number one in the US which you should have 500 of at this point. I love you forever angel Sam [sic]."

Topics: Music, News, LGBTQ

Emma Guinness
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