We have heard a lot lately about Harry Styles, and the evolution of his career. From his beginning as a charming, longhaired One Directioner, he is now one of the biggest icons of the pop and rock world! Following this change in personal identity, many began to question Harry’s sexual identity. A man who has more style than most of us, reminiscent of a modern day Mick Jagger, who wouldn’t? Even though Harry has responded to many questions about his sexual identity with refusal to identify one way or another, his continued love and support for the LGBTQ community is something that is only getting stronger with time.
Why is it so important for LGBTQ youth to know that Harry Styles is an advocate for them/his concerts are safe spaces? This answer encompasses more than you think it does. Think about the beginning of One Direction. Arguably, Harry was the most popular band member and young women (and young men!) everywhere fawned over him! The example he set during his time in 1D was the beginning of the journey to solo stardom, and he had many choices of which “Direction” to go!
In an article for Rolling Stone Magazine, Harry discussed how his time spent in 1D was challenging. When asked about his personal struggles he said, “I think it was tough to really delve in and find out who you are as a writer when you’re just kind of dipping your toe each time…” This is difficult for many bands, but one that has generated such a young following, you can imagine the fine line between wanted your own creative expression and not wanting to disappoint your fans. He later explains that the 1D version of him was almost a character, rather than a genuine representation.
Going back a bit to an interview that fellow 1D member Liam Payne did with Attitude magazine, we see how 1D may have left LGBTQ fans feeling unloved and underappreciated. He said he felt LGBTQ fans were only waving the rainbow flags because of a “sad and strange” belief that Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles were together. Those words carry a lot of impact when you consider how many young LGBTQ fans 1D has, and how they are looking up to these pop icons for love and support!
So, how did grabbing a rainbow flag evolve into a full-fledged Harry Styles LGBTQ movement? Well, in his first public appearance after his band mate’s interview went live, Harry grabbed a rainbow flag from the audience and danced around the stage with it. This quickly helped to disprove any homophobia on his behalf, and that was a stepping-stone toward developing his own image aside from the one 1D had created for him. This was a way for Styles to start to break free from the group, and inject his own ideas and feelings into his music, as well as show his own, unique support for his fans.
I think it’s important to look at his music now, and what it means for him. In that same Rolling Stone article, Harry talks about the No. 1 thing he enjoys writing music about:
“The one subject that hits the hardest is love, whether it’s platonic, romantic, loving it, gaining it, losing it … it always hits you hardest…I don’t think people want to hear me talk about going to bars, and how great everything is. The champagne popping … who wants to hear about it? I don’t want to hear my favorite artists talk about all the amazing shit they get to do. I want to hear, ‘How did you feel when you were alone in that hotel room, because you chose to be alone?'”
This gives us MAJOR insight into the overall goal of Harry’s solo career; love, one word with a HUGE meaning. This could be the main motive for the LGBTQ mania that surrounds Styles, and we can’t be happier about that! With so much happening in the world, having someone who is so popular among young people, as well as an older crowd, being able to not back down and support a culture that is facing much defiance is incredible. When people criticize him, he waves a flag! Not a white flag to represent surrender, but a rainbow flag to represent love. In an interview on a French talk show, Harry was quoted saying that gay rights, to him, are “fundamental, not political.” That speaks to the amount of respect and support he has for the LGBTQ community, by putting human love in front of politics and possible scrutiny.
Ultimately, waving a rainbow flag created a safe space for the LGBTQ community at Harry’s events, a sense of connection and love to the performer, and a person who is willing to persevere for our culture. Thank you, Harry Styles!
***The photo at the top of this blog contains responses from our follower to the question “How has Harry Styles helped you feel supported in the LGBTQ community?” He is currently on tour in Europe, and is continuing to wave the rainbow flag proudly! Here is footage from his October 30th performance in London, waving the rainbow flag, and encouraging his audience to “Be Whoever You Want to Be.”
Andy TowleApril 27, 2017 | 8:14am. “Harry Styles Sees Gay Rights as ‘Fundamental’ Not ‘Political’ – WATCH.” Towleroad, 27 Apr. 2017, www.towleroad.com/2017/04/harry-styles-gay/.
Spanos, Brittany. “7 Things We Learned About Harry Styles’ Debut Solo Album.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 18 Apr. 2017, www.rollingstone.com/music/news/7-things-we-learned-about-harry-styles-debut-solo-album-w477346.
Stephaniesoteriou. “Harry Styles Responds To Liam Payne’s Rainbow Flag Criticism In Best Possible Way.” Stephanie Soteriou, 13 Sept. 2015, stephaniesoteriou.tumblr.com/post/128987471515/harry-styles-responds-to-liam-paynes-rainbow-flag.
“Rainbows – Harry Styles – 30th October 2017.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Oct. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=16Bygk9FkR0.
Little is known about the specifics of Harry Style’s love life, other than a statement he gave to journalist Dan Wootton during an interview saying, “I don’t feel like it’s something I’ve ever felt like I have to explain about myself.” Regardless of his status on labels, Styles has continued to show love and support for the LGBTQ community, even after the recent removal of a fan’s rainbow flag in Nashville.
Harry has been waving flags and melting hearts since his tour began in the US in September. Many members of the LGBTQ community are touched by his support, and motivated by him to be who they are. They find in him the courage to live out loud.
Tell us why you love Harry Styles, and why his support inspires you. How does his waving the rainbow flag make you feel? We want to hear YOUR STORIES!
Email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 10.
****We will post your response anonymously in the comments to share your feelings. This is about sharing your stories in a safe, comfortable place with love and support.
Column, From Dan Wootton’s Bizarre. “Harry Styles Says Writing New Album Was ‘therapeutic’ after Success of One Direction.” The Sun. The Sun, 17 May 2017. Web. 26 Sept. 2017.
Michelson, Noah. “Harry Styles Opens Up About His Sexuality.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 May 2017. Web. 26 Sept. 2017.
ARTS OUT LOUD HOSTS 2ND ANNUAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY STORYTELLING EVENT
Choreographer & Dancer Terrance Spencer and members of the Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Council among featured participants
PITTSBURGH – Arts Out Loud will host Speak Out Loud Pittsburgh!, a free storytelling event bringing the community together on Thursday, May 4 beginning at 6:30pm at the Peirce Studio inside the Trust Arts Education Center downtown. The unique forum promises to be intimate and personal; amusing, moving and inspirational, as individuals with different backgrounds and careers related to entertainment take the stage to share their personal tales of opposition, support, failure, and success.
ARTS OUT LOUD ANNOUNCES MENTORING PROGRAM FOR LGBTQ YOUTH
Arts Out Loud announced the launch of a new LGBTQ youth arts focused mentoring program this spring. Discover Out Loud Mentoring, which is open to LGBTQ youth ages 16-22, is intended to help build confidence and experience in rising artists in the areas of film, theatre, dance, and music. Applications are now open for mentors and mentees in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and for online mentoring. Registration ends on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.