By: Abisola Dosunmu
On the 31st of October, the 18-year-old English actor Kit Connor went on Twitter and posted after a long hiatus. But it wasn’t what people were expecting.
“Back for a minute,” Kit tweeted. “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.”
So how did we get here?
Before this, Kit has repeatedly stated in a Tweet and an interview that he didn’t feel like defining his sexuality to strangers on the internet. “I mean, for me, I just feel like I’m perfectly confident and comfortable in my sexuality, but I’m not too big on labels and things like that.” Kit stated. “I’m not massive about that. And I don’t feel like I need to label myself, especially not publicly.”
But for the past several months since the hit Netflix show, ‘Heartstopper’ had been released, (based on a bestselling comic book by Alice Oseman) some fans have accused Kit of “queerbaiting,” after he was photographed holding hands with ‘A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow’ co-star Maia Reficco, in Paris. Given that Kit plays the character Nick Nelson, a bisexual rugby player in the show, some fans equate that to saying that since Kit plays a queer character, he of course has to be queer. If he shows any sign of possibly being heterosexual, then that’s “queerbaiting,” and some fans are allowed to treat him how they feel fit.
The actual definition of “queerbaiting” is: A marketing technique for fiction and entertainment in which creators hint at, but then do not depict, same-sex romance or other LGBTQ+ representation.
You cannot accuse an actual person of “queerbaiting,” or demand to know their sexuality and then act as if it belongs to you/or they owe you it. That’s how I’m sad to say, some of the ‘Heartstopper’ fans acted towards Kit Connor. Since Connor had not publicly defined his sexuality until now, some fans think he’s “queerbaiting.”
What’s particularly ironic about all this is that in the show, Kit’s character, Nick, is shown figuring out. and struggling with. his sexual identity and eventually showing the message of how you don’t owe anybody a coming out statement. I think saying that some of the fans who watched it completely missed the point of the show is pretty fair.
After Kit’s tweet, many people have poured in the comment section to show their anger of Kit being forced to come out against his will. Among the fans of the show and comics, there were celebrities as well, including Luke Evans and Connor’s co-star Joe Locke, and the author of the book the show was based on, Alice Oseman, joining in to show their support of Kit on Twitter.
What do you think? Should tabloids and everyone that watches a show be entitled to an actor’s sexuality? Or should actors be treated like actual human beings and be allowed privacy?
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