Joyce Byers Drops a Hint About Will Being Gay in Season 1 of ‘Stranger Things’

Stranger Things fans have been questioning if Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is gay or not since the show began. That’s probably because the Brothers Duffer, Matt and Ross, have been leaving breadcrumbs hinting at Will’s sexuality since season 1. Below we break down the season 1 scene where Joyce references Will’s sexuality, plus all of the other mentions Stranger Things has made that suggest Will is gay.

Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) dons a wizard costume in season 3 of 'Stranger Things'
Noah Schnapp as Will Byers | Netflix

Fans think Will’s painting for Mike holds a clue about his sexual orientation

Stranger Things 4 begins with a voiceover from El (Millie Bobby Brown), who mentions a painting Will has been working on for Mike (Finn Wolfhard). He never gets an opportunity to give it to him in Volume 1, but many fans are convinced it’s a painting of the duo from their childhood. 

Also in Volume 1, Will gives a presentation on Alan Turing, which fans took as another hint about his sexuality. The World War II codebreaker was charged with gross indecency for having a sexual relationship with another man. On top of that, a female student tries to flirt with Will in class, much to his shock and disgust.

Later in the first half of season 4, Will and Mike share a heart-to-heart that had many fans convinced he was about to come out. Will says: “Sometimes I think it’s just scary to open up like that, to say how you really feel, especially to people you care about the most because what if they don’t like the truth?” 

Joyce Byers reveals the comments Will’s father used to make about his sexuality in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 1

Will gets trapped in the Upside Down in the first season of Stranger Things. Initially, Joyce (Winona Ryder) presumes he is missing, so she seeks help from Hawkins’ law enforcement, Jim Hopper (David Harbour). 

“He’s a sensitive kid,” Joyce starts to explain. “Lonnie used to say he was queer. Called him a f**.” 

“Is he?” Hopper asks. “He’s missing is what he is,” Joyce replies. 

Nothing the Duffer Brothers do is without intention. Some Stranger Things fans think this was their way of hinting at the character’s sexuality, which will eventually be revealed. As executive producer Shawn Levy told Entertainment Weekly, “… there aren’t many accidents on Stranger Things.” He added (regarding Will and Mike in season 4):

“There is clear intention and strategy and real thought given to each and every character. So, if you came away from Volume I feeling those bread crumbs of plot and character, it’s probably no accident.”

Shawn Levy, Entertainment Weekly

‘Stranger Things 3’ might have hinted at Will Byers being gay too 

In the third season of Stranger Things, Mike and Will argue. Will is upset about his friend group splintering and bothered by Mike’s focus shifting to his girlfriend. 

In episode three, Will calls Mike out for caring about a “stupid girl.” Believing Will means to imply El is stupid, Mike defends her. “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls,” Mike replies, shocking Will. 

Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Will (Noach Schnapp) talk about their relationship in 'Stranger Things' Season 3
Finn Wolfhard as Mike and Noah Schnapp as Will | Netflix

Levy admitted Mike he wasn’t speaking to Will’s sexual orientation. Rather, he was simply saying Will hadn’t reached that stage of puberty where boys become interested in girls yet. On the other hand, many fans took this scene as another hint at Will’s sexuality.

Will Will’s painting for Mike reveal more about his sexual preferences? Fans must tune in to Volume 2 of Stranger Things 4 on Netflix to find out. The final two episodes of the season come out on July 1. 

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