Abbott Elementary star Tyler James Williams shares powerful warning about sexuality speculation

Abbott Elementary star Tyler James Williams in a black tshirt, grey blazer and chain, stood against a black yellow and white background.

Tyler James Williams, star of hit comedy series Abbott Elementary, has expertly explained how speculation about his sexuality harms the LGBTQ+ community.

The 30-year-old actor, who won a Golden Globe award earlier this year for his role as first-grade teacher Gregory Eddie in the school-based sitcom, shut down rumours about his sexuality as part of a Pride message shared with his followers on Instagram on Sunday (4 June).

“Usually I wouldn’t address stuff like this but I feel like it as a conversation is bigger than me,” Williams began his lengthy message, before eloquently explaining why theorising about someone’s sexuality is harmful.

“I’m not gay; but I think the culture of trying to ‘find’ some kind of hidden trait or behaviour that a closeted person ‘let slip’ is very dangerous,” he wrote.

“Over analysing someone’s behaviour in an attempt to ‘catch’ them directly contributes to the anxiety a lot of queer and queer questioning people feel when they fear living in their truth.”

Discussions around whether a celebrity is queer or not have persisted for decades. The last few years have seen fans hound celebrities including Shawn Mendes, Harry Styles and Love Island‘s Will Young, pressuring them to reveal and label their sexuality.

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Last year, fans bullied Heartstopper star Kit Connor into revealing that he is bisexual, after accusing him of so-called queerbaiting. Connor later took aim at those attempting to guess someone’s sexuality based on how they act or look, calling such discussions “ridiculous”.

Such pressure has persisted long before social media existed, however. In the 90s, tabloid media routinely harassed singer George Michael to reveal his sexuality, while last year, actor Rebel Wilson was outed by a Sydney Morning Herald journalist.

Delving more into why speculation about someone’s sexuality is dangerous for the queer community, Williams said “it makes the most pedestrian of conversations and interactions in spaces feel less safe for our gay brothers and sisters and those who may be questioning”.

“It also reinforces an archetype many straight men have to live under that is oftentimes unrealistic, less free, and limits individual expression,” the Everybody Hates Chris star continued.

“Being straight doesn’t look one way. Being gay doesn’t look one way.”

Tyler James Williams in a navy suit at the Golden Globes, holding his golden globe.
Tyler James Williams with his Golden Globe. (Getty)

Other actors have also faced baseless rumours about their sexuality fueled by the way they look or act. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, for example, has previously revealed that he had to bat away speculation that he is gay because trolls thought he has “a gay face”.

“What may seem like harmless fun and conversation may actually be sending a dangerous message to those struggling with real issues,” Williams added to his post, before turning the mood on its head by sharing a heartfelt Pride message with his followers.

“Happy Pride to all of my queer and questioning brothers, sisters, and individuals. I pray that you feel seen in ways that make you feel safe in the celebration that is this month,” he said.

“As an ally I continue to be committed to assisting in that where I can and helping to cultivate a future where we are all accepted and given permission to be ourselves.”