It appears like Halloween may have brought forth a different kind of fear for people who came across the same manner when a heated tweet from Kit Connor, the 18-year-old Heartstopper star, circulated in social media as he came out as bisexual after being browbeaten by some of the show’s viewers.
In the aforementioned show, Connor plays Nick Nelson, a star rugby player and high school student who begins to harbor affections for Charlie Spring, played by Joe Locke, leading him to doubt his own identity. This portrayal made his real-life sexuality the talk of the town. Connor had tried to ignore those who kept attempting to out him and had been doing so for months, not until some images of him with his female co-star in A Cuban’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, Maia Reficco, surfaced and the vitriol of labeling him a queerbaiter for playing a role for a queer person even though he’s straight spiraled.
Queerbaiting is partly to blame for these online harassment and smears leveled on famous people and public figures like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and now Kit Connor—which is absurd because real humans cannot queerbait.
Imagine advocating for a law that prevents SOGIEs from passing judgment, yet presuming someone is straight because they saw him holding hands with a woman; it’s more of hypocrisy and biphobic manner as people, peculiarly within the community, that somehow invalidates bisexuality, with a prevailing ideology that they aren’t “queer enough” unless they date someone of the opposite sex. Horrible to see that the community for which we have fought and made so many sacrifices to be in tatters by this dread.
This erroneous viewpoint is currently harming members of the community who are still coming to terms with who they are or who are reluctant to come out about their sexuality for fear of the repercussions, such as being canceled, to reveal and explain who and what they are. These occurrences show that people are still oblivious to the grotesque nature of coming out.
As we live in a culture where many people and institutions tell us that we are wrong and that we should not live our lives as we do, it takes a great deal of courage to be yourself, as it also exposes the risk of being the subject of ridicule, discrimination, and worst, a victim of a hate crime.
It’s a gloomy battleground in your head, and a dilemma between fighting to win and battling to regret. People who are closeted from the rest of the world would never choose to live that way unless the rest of the world lets it and would never make it a big thing.
It’s this sense of “othering” because you are neither from the supposed “accepted” clusters of sexuality and being compelled and even “forced” to come out that brings the unending cycle of fear among people, starting from the youngest, most impressionable souls who may not have the kind of platform as Connor who can cry foul of these attacks and get support.
In light of the foregoing, even if you want to liberate someone and finally allow him out of the closet, others’ sexuality should never be your worry, and coming out should never be your responsibility—not even the person who chooses to come out or not.
Allow people like Kit Connor to choose and to live not for anyone else but for themselves. Because again, their choices are none of your goddamn business.
With additional text: Leo Balante