Harry Styles is the first global cover star of Rolling Stone.
The English pop star, formerly of One Direction fame, has broken free from his boy band roots and is finding his footing in the likeness of David Bowie and Mick Jagger. With hits like his Grammy Award-winning “Watermelon Sugar” and his recent number one hit “As It Was”, has cemented his superstardom. However, his interview with Rolling Stone is leaving folks with a lot of thoughts.
First, the publication deemed him the new “King of Pop”.
There is no new King of Pop. You don’t own the title @RollingStone, and you didn’t earn it, my uncle did. Decades of dedication and sacrifice. The title has been retired. No disrespect to @Harry_Styles, he’s mega talented. Give him his own unique title. https://t.co/td6SSSVkfX
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) August 22, 2022
The singer gave his take on his relationships.
jeff: “H. repeat after me. you are going to say-“
H: “i am going to say”
jeff: “that you are in a relationship”
H: “that i am in a relationship”
jeff: “with olivia wilde”
H: “with olivia wilde”
jeff: “now all at once please”
— percy 🌊 || within the wings of a storm (@percystardust) August 22, 2022
And then there were his thoughts on “queerbaiting” that definitely didn’t pair well with his thoughts on gay sex in film.
Harry Styles responds to those who say he isn’t queer because he’s “only publicly been with women”:
“[…] I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone. If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.” pic.twitter.com/SmGJLxV1yD
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) August 22, 2022
While many are stuck on his relationship philosophy or his highly debatable “King of Pop” status, queer folks have a bone to pick with him around queerness. Look, no one is entitled to know your sexuality and yet, we recognize the power that comes with being a high-profile queer person and the influence they have on society.
Has Harry been outspoken with his sexuality? No. Would Harry want to be a “spokesperson” if he was openly queer? Probably not. We can acknowledge presumably straight, cis men for pushing gender and sexuality norms placed on them by society, but in no way should that discredit the queer and trans folks who been doing that since *check notes* forever.
The pedestal that entertainers, like Harry, are placed on, ultimately stands on the backs of the LGBTQ folks pushing for that level of freedom. So for the Harry’s House performer to gain acclaim and profit on potentially performative queerness naturally doesn’t sit well with different members of the LGBTQ community who live their lives and are routinely punished for it.
And while many have issues with his thoughts on queerness, they definitely weren’t given any peace of mind when he started discussing and, inadvertently, dissed queer cinema. There are plenty of films that highlight tender, queer stories and do so delicately when portraying sex on-screen. Having someone who doesn’t outright identify with the LGBTQ community talk about queer cinema and sex in a reductive way gave plenty of queer folks something to talk about.
Nothing but “two guys going at it” going on here, if only a straight pop star could come and remind us of what real Tenderness is about pic.twitter.com/sKEfJsNyq4
— della~ 🍒 💣 (@della_morte_) August 23, 2022
Harry Styles codifying queer movies as “So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it” is crazy to me cause MOST queer films are about tenderness, sadness and longing. Most sex scenes are suggested or inexistent💀
— TEVIN (@diornowhere) August 22, 2022
This is not accurate. And it’s kind of awkward for Harry Styles to be criticizing the work of openly queer directors, speaking for the queer community while refusing to openly identify as being a part of it. the queerbaiting allegations have not been overcome… https://t.co/EDQ753UYuT
— TV Tweets (@TVTweets2022) August 23, 2022
Harry Styles gets two things wrong here. Not sure what mainstream films he’s watching that has all this explicit gay sex. Also pretty sure the last thing we need is gay cop representation. https://t.co/MXmLtzJjJb
— Jason Rosenberg (@mynameisjro) August 22, 2022
It’s safe to say that queer folks are not amused.