Heartstopper star Kit Connor said he was forced to come out as bisexual after fans accused him of queerbaiting.
In a tweet on Monday, October 31, the actor posted, “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.”
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
— Kit Connor (@kit_connor) October 31, 2022
Connor plays Nick Nelson, a bisexual high school student, in Heartstopper, a show following a group of teenagers as they explore their relationships and identities.
While Connor’s sexuality has been speculated about for months, online discussions intensified after photos circulated in September showing Connor holding hands with Maia Reficco, who’s co-starring with Connor in A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow.
The photos set off increased accusations that Connor queerbaited with his role in “Heartstopper.” In mid-September, Connor announced he was leaving Twitter, returning only to post his coming-out message.
this is a silly silly app. bit bored of it now, deleting twitter :)
— Kit Connor (@kit_connor) September 12, 2022
Alice Oseman, who created the Heartstopper webcomics, denounced the way Connor was forced out of the closet on Twitter.
“I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes,” Oseman posted in a reply to Connor’s tweet. “I hope all those people are embarrassed as FUCK. Kit you are amazing.”
I truly don't understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes. I hope all those people are embarrassed as FUCK. Kit you are amazing 💖
— Alice Oseman Updates (@AliceOseman) October 31, 2022
Multiple Heartstopper co-stars likewise chimed in with messages of support for Connor.
“You owe nothing to anyone. I’m so proud of you my friend,” wrote Joe Locke, who plays Charlie Spring, Nick Nelson’s love interest.
Some fans tweeted about an image of a scene from the “Heartstopper” comics where a teacher intervenes when students gossip about the sexuality of Nelson, Connor’s character.
“You can’t tell whether people are gay by what they look like,” the teacher said. “And gay or straight aren’t the only two options. Anyway, it’s very rude to speculate about people’s sexuality.”
Other fans posted related sentiments, noting that queerbaiting is a term that should generally describe works of fiction that hint at but don’t actually show LGBTQ characters and relationships.
“Real people cannot queerbait,” wrote one person. “Harassing an 18yo kid until you force him to come out is ABHORRENT.”
In June, Connor spoke with W Magazine about online speculation around his sexuality. He understands the desire for authentic queer representation, he said, but his boundaries should still be respected.
“People can get a bit too comfortable on social media,” he told the magazine. “If I haven’t said anything, you shouldn’t assume anything, but you also shouldn’t pressure me to tell people. It’s a very personal journey that people have to go on.”
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