Harry Styles’ gay sex comments spark huge debate about queerbaiting and outing

Harry Styles.

Harry Styles has once again been accused of “queerbaiting” after commenting on gay sex and his own sexuality.

Styles, 28, has long been faced accusations of queerbaiting – adopting a queer image for profit without being part of the LGBTQ+ community – over his androgynous dress sense and comments about his own identity.

He shrugged off the claim in a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, saying: “Sometimes people say: ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone.”

“I’ve never talked about my life away from work publicly and found that it’s benefited me positively.”

Styles also discussed gay sex scenes in film, ahead of his own in My Policeman, saying that so much of it “is two guys going at it, and it kinds of removes the tenderness from it” – remarks that have spawned ridicule and renewed the queerbaiting debate.

Twitter users were divided by Harry Styles’ refusal to label his sexual orientation.

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Twitter users also slammed the actor’s comment that My Policeman will show a more “tender” side to gay sex rather than just “two guys going at it”.

Other users expressed frustration at the debate, calling on people to speak about other issues afflicting the queer community instead, and said that pressuring someone to come out is not OK.

Harry Styles has been asked on numerous occasions about his sexuality.

Such questions, he told Better Homes & Gardens in April, are “outdated”. His sexuality is one of the few things he says he feels he has control over as a celebrity in the public eye.

“I’ve been really open with it with my friends, but that’s my personal experience; it’s mine,” he said.

“The whole point of where we should be heading, which is toward accepting everybody and being more open, is that it doesn’t matter, and it’s about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you’re checking.”

Styles is not the first – and certainly won’t be the last – celebrity to be accused of queerbaiting.

Nick Jonas in 2016 promoted his album Last Year Was Complicated by swinging by gay bars and offering vague answers to questions about whether he has slept with men.

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