Harry Styles is known for his gender-non-conforming sense of fashion. Still, some accuse this singer of “queerbaiting,” especially with Styles not explicitly labeling his sexuality. Others were quick to support to “Watermelon Sugar” singer, saying that he is ‘exploring [his] own identity.’ Here’s our look into the online conversation.
Harry Styles commented on ‘queerbaiting’ accusations
Styles supports the LGBTQ community in his music. Even in his acting career, Styles explores characters in the LGBTQ community. In My Policeman, Styles portrays a closeted gay police officer in the 1950s.
“I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it,” Styles said of his character. “It’s not like, ‘this is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”
When he’s on stage, Styles sometimes sports dresses, skirts, and pride flags. For a Halloween show, he dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, singing a snippet of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Regarding his alleged “queerbaiting,” Styles noted his well-known relationships with women.
“Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone,” Styles said during an interview with Rolling Stone. “If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.”
Social media users comment on the Harry Styles ‘queerbaiting’ conversation
Queerbaiting, a term recently popularized by social media users, refers to a creator hinting at a same-sex romance to win over members of the LGBTQ community and straight allies. This mainly came into play with Styles’ recent interview.
“Being gender non-conforming is separate from being queer,” one Reddit user said. “He’s dressing how he wants instead of succumbing to the social pressures of being ‘manly.’”
Some used this opportunity to defend the artist’s exploration of sexuality and gender identity. Styles is just one celebrity asked to reveal their sexual orientation to the public.
“Your periodical reminder that people living their lives (even famous people!) is not queerbaiting,” one Twitter user wrote. “Men can wear dresses, and women can wear suits without identifying as part of the queer community. ‘Queerbaiting’ has a specific meaning, and it’s not ‘I wish Harry Styles was queer.’”
“My skin crawls every time I see someone describing a person as ‘queerbaiting,’” another Twitter user noted. “To position someone’s exploration of their own identity as some sort of cheap trick on their fans only makes it harder for everyone to find their own route to being out and proud.”
Harry Styles sometimes references his sexuality in music and music videos
Sometimes Styles discusses his romantic relationship with his music. In the “Late Night Talking” music video, Styles appeared on a dinner date with a man. When he appeared “in public” on stage, people saw his relationship with a woman.
In 2017, this artist said he never “felt the need” to label his sexuality. When asked during an interview with Insider if he identifies as bisexual, this artist said that he doesn’t wave his “sexual ambiguity” to be more interesting.