Mercury Prize-nominated poet Kate Tempest changes name and pronouns

Kate Tempest has said they are changing their name to Kae and asked fans to refer to them using the pronouns they/them.

The poet, rapper and author, 34, shared a lengthy post on Instagram detailing how they had been struggling to accept themselves in recent years.

Tempest, whose albums have been nominated twice for the Mercury Prize, said “hiding from myself” had led to “all kinds of difficulties” in their life.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

They said Kae referred to the jay bird in old English, symbolising adaptation and courage, as well as the jackdaw, a bird often associated with death and rebirth.

Writing to their 66,900 Instagram followers, they said: “I’m changing my name! And I’m changing my pronouns. From Kate to Kae. From she/her to they/them.

“I’ve been struggling to accept myself as I am for a long time. I have tried to be what I thought others wanted me to be so as not to risk rejection.

“This hiding from myself has led to all kinds of difficulties in my life. And this is a first step towards knowing and respecting myself better.

“I’ve loved Kate. But I am beginning a process and I hope you’ll come with me. From today – I will be publishing my books and releasing my music as Kae Tempest!”

Banksy’s Dismaland
Banksy’s Dismaland

Tempest said the word Kae also had roots in the Latin word for rejoice.

They added: “And I hope to live more that way each day.”

Tempest suggested their decision to change their name was encouraged by social and political events in the world.

They continued: “This is a time of great reckoning. Privately, locally, globally.

“For me, the question is no longer ‘when will this change’ but ‘how far am I willing to go to meet the changes and bring them about in myself’ I want to live with integrity.

“And this is a step towards that. Sending LOVE always.”

Transgender campaigner and model Munroe Bergdorf was among those who left messages of encouragement under Tempest’s post.

Bergdorf said: “OMG YESSSS KAE!!! Sending all my love. What a beautiful moment.”

In September last year, pop star Sam Smith also asked fans to refer to them using the pronouns they/them, six months after coming out as non-binary.

A person who identifies as non-binary does not define themselves exclusively as masculine or feminine‍ and generally prefers they/them pronouns, rather than he/she.

Tempest won the Ted Hughes Award for their 2013 play Brand New Ancients.