Skip to main content

Why Kit Connor’s Coming Out is Not The Win For The LGBTQ+ Community You Might Think it is

by Emily McIntyre

Queerbaiting is not a new term, but the way in which it has been recently misconstrued and used as a weapon against celebrities, is something the internet has definitely seen an increase in.

The term was originally used to essentially call out media that played with the idea of non-heterosexual relationships/attraction with the sole purpose of gaining audience interest without following through in LGBTQ representation.

However, more recently, it’s been used to criticise and call out people that seemingly take advantage of and capitalise on the appearance or implication of LGBTQ+ relationships, without actually being a part of the community.

Take Harry Styles for example; with his non-compliance to stereotypical gender norms when it comes to how he dresses, he can’t even be seen performing on stage without having queerbaiting accusations and his entire sexuality up for debate.

A now hazardous term, it places a huge amount of pressure on individuals in the limelight to attach a label to themselves in order to live up to these certain ideals of sexuality that other people have decided for them.

Queerbaiting accusations can place someone in a position where they’ve felt the need to prematurely come out before they’re ready, because they feel as though without doing so, they risk hurting a community they’re actually a part of. And for many people, labels are not something they will ever want to attach to themselves regardless of if their relationships fall under the queer spectrum.

The most recent victim to the internet’s desire to call out queerbaiting is 18 year-old Kit Connor, who played the role of Nick Nelson in Netflix’s hit show ‘Heartstopper.’ In the show he plays a teen navigating bisexuality who ends (spoiler alert) in a relationship with another boy. As he shot to fame, fans began to wonder if Connor was benefiting off of a community he had no connection to in real life.

Of course, this is always to be expected; with any show, there’s an eagerness to see if the character you fell in love with on screen can be found in the actor who took on the role and, to some, it’s important that these roles go to people who will do their best to represent the LGBTQ community.

Kit Connor, however, had always been more than open about how he feels surrounding his sexuality, and made it more than obvious that he didn’t feel the need to label himself at such a young age. On a podcast earlier this year, Connor stated:

“We’re still all so young. To start sort of speculating about our sexualities and maybe pressuring us to come out when maybe we’re not ready… For me, I just feel perfectly confident and comfortable with my sexuality. But I don’t feel the need to really, you know – I’m not too big on labels and things like that. I’m not massive about that. I don’t feel like I need to label myself, especially not publicly”.

Regrettably, queerbaiting allegations were taken too far for Conner, who took to Twitter (@kit_connor) to say, “back for a minute. I’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show. bye.”

And he’s right. If there’s anything to take away from ‘Heartstopper,’ it’s the importance of the time it takes coming to terms with your own sexuality and identity. The entire show explores the complexity of what it feels like to begin questioning yourself, and how in doing so, your relationships and the world around you changes.

The show clearly strives to be an inclusive and safe representation of so many different LGBTQ members yet, to some fans of ‘Heartstopper’, this wasn’t enough.

Of course, Kit Connor’s coming out is immensely brave, but the way in which it has happened is not a step in the right direction.

Queer men don’t owe anyone a certain look or personality type. No amount of flamboyance, or lack of, could ever mean that someone is permitting their identity to be up for discussion.

The idea that certain behaviour or clothing choices all need to coincide in order to fit society’s definition of gay reinforces outdated stereotypes, as if there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to be your identity.

The gay community continues to need to fight for equality, and whilst it’s important to look out for those taking advantage of queer expression, it’s just as important that we don’t isolate members of the community whilst doing so. Nobody’s sexuality needs to be up for public debate, and nobody owes you anyone else’s definition of what it means to be queer.


Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18

Single Review: ‘Tell Me’ - Jay Moussa-Mann

by Ilana Hawdon The feeling of pure betrayal and heartbreak is perfectly captured in Jay Moussa-Mann’s latest single, ‘Tell Me’. Jay Moussa-Mann is the folk dream we have been waiting for. A favourite on BBC Introducing, Radio 6 and BBC Radio Tees, Jay ’s sound is easy on the ears but delightfully addictive. With a background in writing and film, she began her solo musical venture when she released her debut album, ‘Little Deaths’ in late-2019, and since then, Moussa-Mann has defined herself as an artist with unbelievable range and promise.    ‘Tell Me’ is completely timeless; with notes of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Moussa-Mann creates a folk-inspired track which is simultaneously heart wrenching and strangely empowering. Beginning as a simple guitar tune, ‘Tell Me’ builds with layers of luscious strings and twinkling piano, tied together with Jay ’s vocal line which is equal parts melancholic and divine. The song feels unwaveringly intimate; the lyrics ask, ‘what was I worth?’