Sunday, May 28Welcome

Kit Connor’s sexuality doesn’t matter to you


Pressure for 18-year-old actor Kit Connor to come out has been mounting on social media for months.

Connor, the star of Netflix’s teen romantic comedy Heartstopper, said Monday that he felt kicked out of the closet.

In the coming-of-age series with a refreshingly queer-forward plotline, Conner plays British high school rugby player Nick Nelson alongside classmate Charlie Spring, played by Joe Locke, who falls in love with him. Graphic of the same name by Alice Oseman Based on his novel in his eight episodes Over the course of his series, Nick begins to question his own sexuality as his feelings for Charlie grow.

The show was so well received when it launched this year that it’s already been renewed for two more seasons. It was one of the first to center around LGBTQ characters (Nick and Charlie and the rest of the main cast) for teen and young adult audiences. Unlike shows like ‘Sex Education’ and ‘Euphoria’, these shows are wonderfully sexually and gender-diverse, but also more explicit.

Calls for Conor to work on his own orientation began this spring with taunts on Twitter. he responded in a tweet, “Twitter is such an interesting person. Some people here seem to know my sexuality better than I do…” But the pressure didn’t abate, and Conner said the social media mob was “queerbaiting.” ‘ and claimed that the show was trying to engage people on a wider scale. Themes involving LGBTQ without intending to reveal his character’s identity – and perhaps Connor was doing the same.

Kit Conner (left) and Joe Locke in a scene from

The truth about Nelson’s personality and Connor’s real-life identity may be much more nuanced. tweeted on halloween Here’s what he said to his 1 million followers that he’s bisexual: I’m bi,” he wrote. “Congratulations on forcing me to go out at 18. I’m sure some of you missed the point of the show. Goodbye.”

There’s a lot to unravel in this story, among which young adults are being forced to share very private parts of their identities very publicly, which can still be fluid. I have.

Connor was feeling the pressure of a moralistic social media mob that quickly attacked and took time to forgive. That’s not how we should operate as a culture.

Mobs on Twitter can bring real issues to light and produce favorable results more quickly. Other times, it blows everything away and walks away, not caring what casualties follow.

Conor’s outing is just the latest in a string of celebrities recently forced to go out to avoid being exposed or “leaked” by the tabloid media, and a long history of Hollywood celebrities forced to stay in the closet. In contrast to career.

From 20th-century covert actor Rock Hudson to today’s openly transgender actor Elliott Page, performers have long lived double lives, hiding their true identities to remain on the A-list and need to stay safe and alive. There was. It took Ellen DeGeneres decades to rebuild her career after she graced the cover of Time magazine in 1997.

It is true that many LGBTQ characters in contemporary media have evolved from one-dimensional characters such as murderers, murder victims, sex workers and punchline providers to actual humans, including main characters rather than just sidekicks. .

Includes Michaela Jay Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Dominic Jackson and India Moore from FX’s “Pose”. Sara Ramirez played Callie Torres in “Grey’s Anatomy” (and played Che Diaz in the “Sex and the City” spin-off “And Just Like That”). Just a few, including the cast of this year’s films Fire Island and Bros, and Zendaya playing Lou Bennett in her HBO’s Euphoria. In terms of media representation, we have come a long way in a short period of time.

(Both HBO and HBO Max are owned by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Cast (from left)

Now, LGBTQ viewers are understandably asking tough questions about who can play an LGBTQ character. Is a cisgender person playing a transgender character equivalent to playing a blacked-out white actor, or a BIPOC person, or is there another litmus test? Does it mean playing a character that is different from your typical identity? Or are there still rules that you have to properly draw and maintain?

Cisgender actors like Eddie Redmayne, who was nominated for an Oscar for playing a transgender woman in “The Danish Girl,” later regretted stepping into the role, saying that transgender women However, he felt other casting choices were more forgivable, such as Cate Blanchett and Mara Rooney playing lesbians in the stunning 2015 film Carol. Perhaps casting someone to play an unspecified character in their personal life would be more palatable if cast by a director, producer, or writer who genuinely lives that identity. Good.

Who can create queer art and media, and what is considered accurate representation? Television series and films gain attention when star-studded shishet casts are replaced to align the presentation What if the show’s writer/director is queer and the actors aren’t?

Progress has been made in casting openly queer actors in lead roles, but weaponizing criticism of queerbait and appropriation as an excuse to kick teens and actors out of the closet is not the answer. The conversation has reached a feverish pitch, with the result hurting those who should be allowed to decide for themselves when and how to come out.

For thousands of years, humans have felt the need to categorize things in order to make sense of the world. Young people are subverting that rigid framework with more fluid gender identities and romantic expressions. (Read the current culture wars about literature, school policy, etc.). , and has also requested that it be shared with the world immediately.

Coming out is not a one-time act, nor is it fixed. Identity is malleable and many young people are still on the journey of finding themselves. What we shouldn’t do is publicly shame someone into disclosing parts of themselves that they may not be ready or willing to share.

With LGBTQ rights under threat in the United States and around the world, coming out requires an entirely different assessment of risk and impact. There’s only one person to make that decision, and no, it’s not a Twitter troll.

Note: there is abundant resources available For those who want to learn more about how best to support people who are coming out as LGBTQ, or who are exploring the queer corners of feeling themselves.

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