One Direction’s Harry Styles performs with Pride flag as he kicks off solo tour

Former One Direction star Harry Styles kicked off a solo tour in San Francisco last night – draping a rainbow flag over his microphone.

The ex-1D singer kicked off the first leg of his worldwide solo tour last night with a performance at San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium, following the release of his first album earlier this year.

The singer surprised fans midway through his stripped-down set, retrieving a rainbow flag partway through his solo song ‘Woman’ and prominently draping it across his microphone stand.

He kept the flag in place for much of his set, with it in full view as he launched into a cover of Ariana Grande track Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart.

Dressed in a floral suit, he also launched into a cover of One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful, briefly waving the flag before stowing it away out of view.

The singer spoke about his sexuality earlier this year.

He said: “It’s weird for me – everyone should just be who they want to be.

“It’s tough to justify somebody having to answer to someone else about stuff like that.”

He praised Wrecking Ball singer Miley Cyrus for coming out as pansexual, saying: “Being in a creative field, it’s important to be progressive. People doing stuff like that is great.”

But Styles said he would not be joining her in defining his sexuality.

Asked if he has ever labelled himself, he said: “No, I’ve never felt the need to really. No.

“I don’t feel like it’s something I’ve ever felt like I have to explain about myself.”

Before the band’s break-up, there were tensions inside One Direction when fans persistently theorised that Styles was in a relationship with fellow singer Louis Tomlinson.

Tomlinson recently addressed the rumours, saying they are “disrespectful” to his girlfriend.

He told the Sun: “It kind of happened naturally for me and Harry because a certain amount of the fans drew up this conspiracy. When it first came around I was with Eleanor, and it actually felt a little bit disrespectful to [her].

“I’m so protective over things like that, about the people I love. So it created this atmosphere between the two of us where everyone was looking into everything we did.

“It took away the vibe you get off anyone. It made everything a little bit more unapproachable. I think [what’s happened since] shows that it was never anything ‘real’ if I can use that word.”

(Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Ex-bandmate Liam Payne previously admitted the gay relationship rumours drove him “insane”.

Styles has long been an enthusiastic advocate for the LGBT community.

In 2014, he showed his support for out NFL star Michael Sam while performing at a One Direction concert, by wearing the American football player’s St Louis Rams jersey.

Earlier this year, he said on French TV that LGBT rights were fundamental, not political.

“Stuff like equality feels much more fundamental,” he said. “I feel like everyone is equal.

“That doesn’t feel like politics to me.”