If you’ve been on twitter or TikTok recently, some of you might have seen a tweet or a video like this, “I hate Harry Styles. He’s queerbaiting” or “Unless Harry talks about being queer, he needs to stop dressing queer.”
Harry Styles is currently touring the US, whilst wearing gender bending clothes and waving pride flags .
He is also starring in a film that is being released soon, “My Policeman” which is a gay movie set in the 1950s, Brighton.
However, the public has only seen him with Kendall Jenner or Taylor Swift, a woman. People find it weird that he is preaching genderless fashion and waving pride flags like his life depends on it.
The question is, is this queerbaiting? Is he doing it to attract his fans? Is it a marketing strategy?
In my opinion, no.
Dictionary.com defines queerbaiting as “the practice of implying non-heterosexual relationships or attraction (in a TV show, for example) to engage or attract an LGBTQ audience or otherwise generate interest without ever actually depicting such relationships or sexual interactions.”
Thus, people who are living their own lives, who aren’t sure of their sexuality, and people who do not tell the press about their sexuality cannot be queerbaiting. Real humans can’t use “queerbaiting” as a marketing strategy either.
Also, Harry has opened up about his sexuality in the BetterHomes & Garden interview by saying,
“I’ve been really open with it with my friends, but that’s my personal experience; it’s mine. The whole point of where we should be heading, which is toward accepting everybody and being more open, is that it doesn’t matter, and it’s about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you’re checking.”
Isn’t it time to consider the fact Harry and other celebrities can be in the closet? Isn’t it morally wrong to force celebrities to come out just because of the queerbaiting accusations? No one, even celebrities, owe fans and the public explanations about their gender identity or sexuality. Just because someone dresses “queer” does not mean that they have to come out. Plus, every one should be able to wear anything they want without being accused of faking being queer.
Also, we need to remember that using “queerbaiting” to address people is so dangerous and invalidating because it gives out the message that if you are not out in public, you are not queer. This can be so hurtful to all closeted people, not just celebrities.
Without blaming real human beings as queerbaiting, we should focus on the actual issues of queerbaiting in the TV industries and stop expecting celebrities to explain everything to us.