You are not entitled to know people’s sexualities

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Photo courtesy of AP Images

Actor Kit Connor was forced to come out after Twitter users said he was “queerbaiting.” Connor came out as bi and many of his friends felt sorry for the circumstances for which he came out.

Natalie Becker, Opinion editor

For many people struggling with defining their sexuality, coming-out is the hardest part of the process. Sometimes the defining of sexuality doesn’t even happen, and then it’s even harder to come out and explain not having a label or term.

Being forced to come out because of pressure of being called a queerbaiter shouldn’t be an experience anyone should go through. And yet, actor Kit Connor experienced this on Twitter on Oct. 31.

Connor is well known for playing Nick Nelson on the Netflix original “Heartstopper.” Nelson’s sexuality journey is detailed throughout the eight episodes and ends the show with coming out to his mother as bisexual.

Connor tweeted, “back for a minute. i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. bye.”

Before he tweeted this, Connor had never specifically stated his sexuality. He had said in previous interviews that he didn’t feel the need to label himself because he felt comfortable with his sexuality.

The pressure to come out was brought upon by fans of the show saying he was queerbaiting. He was holding hands with a girl and therefore is “lying about his sexuality.”

The Heartstopper “fans” who were calling him out don’t seem to realize that real people can’t queerbait. 

Queerbaiting, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as “the harassment, abuse, or targeted provocation of LGBT people.” The only way anyone could possibly be queerbaiting is if they purposefully wrote it into a work of fiction. 

Famous examples of queerbaiting include the Netflix original “Voltron: Legendary Defender.” The writers of the show released the character, Shiro’s, sexuality in the last season in the worst way possible. Viewers found out that he had a fiancé who died in a spaceship crash. Shiro then ended the show with a person, whom we didn’t know the name of, and they got married.

A more recent example would be from the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things.” One of the main kids, Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, was revealed to be gay and to have been struggling with his sexuality for a couple of seasons. However, the show had been hinting at Byers and Mike Wheeler, played by Finn Wolfhard, getting together, but then Wheeler ended up back with Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown.

Queerbaiting has ruined the media for the worst by robbing LGBTQ+ youth of proper representation. “Heartstopper” is one of the few shows that has openly gay, trans and bi characters and the cast is queer themselves. Four of the main cast have stated they are LGBTQ+ : Joe Locke, Tobie Donovan, Yasmin Finney and Kizzy Edgell.

The pressure for Connor to come out could have come from the fact that he was one of the only cast members who had never specifically stated their sexuality.

But you are not entitled to know anyone’s sexuality besides your own. This stigma surrounding coming-out if you are not straight is stupid. Why should anyone have to come out if they didn’t feel like they needed to? 

I, as a queer teenager, feel sorry for Connor. This is not how someone should come out in any regard. He didn’t want to come out because he didn’t feel the need to do so. 

Hearing Connor talk about being comfortable with his sexuality was something I was inspired by. I don’t label myself, besides my pronouns, and Connor was one of the big reasons for that. His experience was validating enough. 

Seeing the tweet he posted was upsetting to look at. His friends from “Heartstopper” agreed that this was a terrible occurrence for him. Many of Connor’s fans were also upset with these “fans” of “Heartstopper” saying they should know Connor’s sexuality.

Hot take: Kit Connor does not owe you his sexuality or any details of his personal life. End of story. In fact, no one owes you their sexuality. People are allowed to share it if they want. But if people don’t specifically label themselves, don’t pressure them to release that personal information.

These “fans” think they’ve done some sort of justice by calling Connor out for this, but in reality this did nothing but anger the LGBTQ+ community. Him holding hands with a girl does not cancel out his bisexuality. Bisexuals feel attraction toward males and females, not one or the other. 

It seems that, in the eyes of these crazy Twitter “fans,” you are only bisexual if you are dating someone of the same gender. That’s just entirely not true.

Coming-out is a terrifying experience, and if it goes awry, the person coming out does not feel safe in the environment they’re in. Connor probably doesn’t feel safe on Twitter and probably will take a break for as long as he needs. I respect that.

I’m so sorry to Connor, he did not deserve this coming-out story. I wish he would’ve gotten Nick Nelson’s coming-out story.