Heartstopper’s Kit Connor reveals he might never have come out as bisexual if not for fan pressure

Kit Connor

Heartstopper star Kit Connor has opened up about how he felt after fan pressure led him to come out as bisexual.

The 19-year-old actor, who plays the bisexual, doe-eyed rugby player Nick Nelson in the Netflix series, was compelled to reveal his own sexuality on Twitter last year.

After being pictured hand-in-hand with his A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow co-star Maia Reficco, furious Heartstopper fans accused him of “queerbaiting” by refusing to clarify his sexuality.

Before then, the Rocketman actor had not spoken much about his sexuality, but the reaction to his private life led to him publishing a statement on Twitter.

“I’m bi. Congrats for forcing an 18-year-old to out himself,” he wrote. “I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”

Connor, who won a Royal Television Society award for his portrayal of Nick, has since deleted his Twitter account.

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In a new interview with British Vogue, he spoke about the effect of Heartstopper’s success.

“You feel a bit watched… I’m still in my formative years, so things I wouldn’t want to be watched doing are,” he said, adding that he gets particularly upset with fans tracking down his family on social media, as “they didn’t sign up for it”.

Kit Connor for British Vogue
Kit Connor spoke to British Vogue. (Alasdair McLellan)

Speaking candidly about the experience of coming out last year, Connor revealed that he would have “preferred to do it in another way”, rather than via Twitter under the watchful eye of the world.

“It wasn’t something I was ready to talk about,” he admitted. “I wasn’t angry. I was just slightly disappointed by this reaction. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business and I’m super young.”

While his tweet said he’d been “forced” by fans to reveal his bisexuality, Connor has now retracted that statement, saying that he posted it because he “just needed to let that energy out”.

He added: “I think ‘forced’ isn’t the right word, but I would say that I would have preferred to do it another way… I also don’t know if I would have ever done it. But, at the end of the day, I don’t regret it. In many ways, it was empowering.”

Although Connor has become something of a hero for young, queer, people struggling with their identity, he didn’t have too many issues navigating his sexuality.

“It was a very natural process for me. I didn’t really have an ‘oh, sh*t’ moment, It just became more and more evident,” he told Vogue, explaining that while his all-boys school wasn’t “hugely inclusive”, his family were “super accepting, inclusive and wonderful”.

After coming out, Connor was inundated with messages of support from his Heartstopper co-stars, with Great Expectations actress Olivia Colman – who plays his mother – telling Variety: “I am so proud of him, but I am not proud of how people bullied him.

“People should be allowed to have their own journey… but I’m incredibly proud of him [for dealing] with all that and be in the spotlight. It’s unfair.”

The actions of fans made Heartstopper author Alice Oseman “so angry”. Speaking to Attitude, she said: “I care about this cast so deeply. I feel like a parent figure. What people were saying to him was so anti-Heartstopper.”

Joe Locke, who plays Kit Connor’s on-screen boyfriend Charlie Spring, simply replied to Connor’s initial tweet with: “You owe nothing to anyone. I’m so proud of you my friend.”

Kit Connor and Joe Locke star as Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring in popular Netflix show Heartstopper
Kit Connor (L) and Joe Locke in the Netflix adaptation of Heartstopper. (Netflix)

Locke has spoken about his own issue with a lack of privacy, condemning “gross” people who speculate about his love life.

“Someone making money out of rumours about who I might be liking or talking to, it’s really gross and perverted,” he told GQ earlier this year. “I’m 18… I don’t know who I am yet.”

Heartstopper season two returns on Thursday 3 August, with Connor and Locke reprising their roles.

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