Harry Styles is responding to accusations of queerbaiting, saying that he has never “publicly” dated anyone in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
“Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone,” Styles said when the topic of his sexuality and accusations of queerbaiting came up. “If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.”
Queerbaiting is an accusation leveled at straight people who appropriate queer culture and aesthetics for profit without explicitly claiming the community. The singer has faced such accusations throughout his career, as he makes unconventional stylistic choices by dressing flamboyantly and wearing dresses.
Styles, who is currently dating actress and director Olivia Wilde, was previously accused of queerbaiting in April of this year when he told Better Homes and Gardens that he has no obligation to publicly reveal who he sleeps with.
“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.”
Playing the role of a gay man in the upcoming romance film, My Policeman, Styles, 28, said that this role has led him to examine his understanding of his own sexuality further. “I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it,” he said. “It’s not like ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”
“So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it,” Styles says. “There will be, I would imagine, some people who watch it who were very much alive during this time when it was illegal to be gay, and [director Michael Grandage] wanted to show that it’s tender and loving and sensitive.”