Kim Petras on Being the First Trans Woman to Win Best Pop Duo at the Grammys: "Labels Matter"

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Kim Petras is celebrating the significance of her Grammys win. In an interview at Universal Music Group's after-party, she discussed becoming the first transgender woman to win the award for best pop duo/group performance at the Feb. 5 event. "Labels matter so much. So, for the Recording Academy to honor me for the work that I put in . . .," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I was a singer who had transgender in front of their name for years . . . That's the first thing people know about me, and it just feels, as a musician and someone who's put in years and years — over 10 years of writing songs and being in the industry — it feels incredible."

She went on to thank her collaborator Sam Smith, who she shares her win for their song "Unholy" with. "I'm so grateful to Sam for putting me on that beautiful song and I love that song," she said. "People were like, 'She makes gay club music.' And now, I make gay club music but got a Grammy."

Earlier in the night, Petras accepted the award for her and Smith's hit. "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," she said in her speech. "I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight." Petras went on to give a special thanks to Grammy-nominated musician Sophie, who died in 2021. She "told me this would happen and always believed in me," Petras said. "Your inspiration will forever be in my music."

"I grew up next to a 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," the artist continued. "Everyone who believed in me to this point, I love you so much."

Petras and Smith made a statement on the Grammys red carpet in coordinated red ensembles complete with gloves and lacy veils. Their track "Unholy" first went viral on TikTok in summer 2022, sparking a popular dance challenge. The song came out in full in September 2022, quickly becoming an inescapable hit. It was eventually followed by a sultry music video.

The first transgender woman to win a Grammy was Wendy Carlos, who won three awards — including album of the year — for her revolutionary album "Switched-On Bach" at the 12th Grammy Awards in 1969.

Watch Petras's 2023 Grammys acceptance speech above.