Harry Styles Responds To Critics Accusing Him Of Profiting Off The LGBTQ+ Community

After critics claimed that Harry Style coopted queer aesthetics without claiming to be a part of the community, the ‘As It Was’ singer shot back at the allegations.

“Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone,” Harry Styles said, without prompting, while discussing his sexuality with Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos in the September 2022 issue (and first-ever global cover.) Harry, 28, seemingly responded to critics of his “gender fluidity in fashion,” with some saying he’s appropriated queer attitudes and aesthetics without publicly proclaiming himself to be part of the LBTQIA+ community. Harry spoke against the arguments about how he identifies, saying, “If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.”

Harry’s sexuality has been subject to rumors and speculation back when he was performing in One Direction. The “As It Was” singer told Spanos that he’s stopped worrying about what others think and trying to set the record straight. “I’ve never talked about my life away from work publicly and found that it’s benefited me positively,” he said in Rolling Stone. “There’s always going to be a version of a narrative, and I think I just decided I wasn’t going to spend the time trying to correct it or redirect it in some way.”

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These comments come ahead of Harry’s turn in My Policeman, a film where he plays the titular cop who develops feelings for a museum curator played by David Dawson. The film is set in the 1950s, back when same-sex relationships were still illegal in the United Kingdom. “It’s obviously pretty unfathomable now to think, ‘Oh, you couldn’t be gay. That was illegal,’ ” the not-yet-30-year-old Styles says. “I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it.”

(Amanda Fordyce)

Styles also described the film as a human story. “It’s not like, ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me,” he said, adding that the film will focus on the sensitivity and emotional side of a same-sex relationship. “So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it,” he said. “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 [Michael] wanted to show that it’s tender and loving and sensitive.”

Since January 2021, Harry has been publicly involved with his Don’t Worry Darling director, Olivia Wilde. The two met on set after Harry replaced Shia LaBeouf after Olivia reportedly booted him for poor on-set behavior. Since then, the couple has kept their relationship relatively private, with the occasional public outing. On Aug. 18, the two were spotted holding hands following a meal at Ruby Rossa in NYC’s Little Italy.

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