Privacy is one of the things I value most in my life. I like being able to control what people do or do not know about me and my personal life. A lot of celebrities are not afforded this confidentiality, and are treated almost as if their lives are meant for public display.
Sexuality is an incredibly private matter that anyone should be welcome to share only when they are ready. However, it’s become incredibly popularized to speculate on the sexuality and love life of celebrities.
The 2022 Netflix show “Heartstopper” features a character named Nick Nelson who was recently outed to his school and struggled with harassment from his peers. However, fans seemed to miss the message about forced outing when it came to the actors playing the characters.
In 2022, Kit Connor, who plays Nick, was forced to out himself as bisexual by fans of the show. Connor played the role of a queer character within the series, but was not openly out.
At the age of 18, he came out online due to pressure from the accusations of “queerbaiting,” which Dictionary.com defines as the “practice of implying non-heterosexual relationships or attraction … to engage or attract an LGBTQ audience or otherwise generate interest without ever actually depicting such relationships or sexual interactions.”
It is heartbreaking to see anyone outed. Just because someone is in the public eye doesn’t mean they don’t deserve their privacy. However, this fan culture that is so obsessed with learning everything they can about public figures has led to the normalization of these invasions of private life.
The speculation of sexuality extends to global icons, including Taylor Swift. There is a significant portion of the fanbase who identify themselves as the “Gaylors,” constantly striving to interpret her songs and words into proof of her being bisexual or gay.
With the recent release of “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” Swift has commented on this fan culture within the liner notes of her album. Addressing the rumors of her sexuality, Swift said, “I swore off dating and decided to focus only on myself, my music, my growth and my female friendships. If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that — right? I would learn later on that people could and people would.”
Any celebrity may be subject to this speculation, regardless of whether they feature in queer media. Swift was eventually forced to address the rumors of her fanbase, despite spending years attempting to ignore and avoid the subject.
Traditional celebrities are able to prevent some of this invasion. They can receive training on how to avoid paparazzi and cameras, afford security detail and protect themselves from the worst of fan invasions. However, youtubers and streamers are often rocketed into fame overnight and cannot afford the same protections.
Almost anyone who watches any kind of content on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch can identify at least one content creator they watch who has had their sexuality heavily speculated about or been forced to out themselves.
The most famous and glaring example of this fan culture around content creators is Dan and Phil, two British youtubers who have faced speculation about whether they are dating throughout their entire career.
Open your web browser and search “dan and phil dating,” then scroll through some of the results. You will see everything from youtube videos to fan art to news articles to blogs to fan fiction shipping and “proving” the relationship between the two.
It is astounding how delving this deeply into the personal lives of artists and content creators has become normalized. Fans feel entitled to know every detail of their lives. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have every single one of my actions analyzed to fit a crafted narrative by strangers.
Celebrities are still people, and are no different than any of us. They are entitled to all the same rights we are, including their privacy.
Photo from deadline.com.