‘Queerly Not Straight’: We Need to Talk About James Charles and Sexual Harassment

In thIn an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.


When a straight man goes after a lesbian because he thinks he can change her sexuality, that’s wrong. She knows who she is, is certain about who she wants to bump uglies with, and doesn’t owe the man ANYTHING when it comes to proving that she’s queer. Same thing applies if we flip the script and make it a queer person going after a straight person. It’s wrong, rude AF, and sexual harassment aka something that James Charles needs to be taught about.

Let’s take a step back and give some context.

Over the weekend, Tati Westbrook posted a video titled “Bye Sister” on Youtube. It was a sly calling out of James Charles, another beauty vlogger, who uses “sisters” to describe his fans. And I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t even know who James Charles was before this video. I saw his face at the most recent Met Gala but there was nothing that stood out for me when it came to him so I kept it moving along; basically swooning over how lovely Lupita Nyong’o and Harry Styles looked instead.

After the 43 minute video by Tati (Yes, you read that right. It was 43 minutes and Tati did such an eloquent job at this confessional style video that it felt like 5 minutes) I spiraled on all things Tati and James Charles. And hair/sleep vitamin drama aside, the most troubling part of Tati’s video was the straight chasing by James Charles. Repeatedly, Tati clarified and called out James for going after young and impressionable men who still hadn’t totally figured out their sexuality or that had but James didn’t want to hear it or face that truth. Without a shadow of a doubt, that’s wrong. And don’t worry, it gets worse!


There have been countless videos throughout his Youtube career where he teased and joked about going after straight men and how they would be the death of him. Everyone and their mama thought he was joking and that he wasn’t making people uncomfortable because queer people understand what discrimination and being treated like “the other” really feels like and would never do that, right? WRONG!

James Charles was making the young straight men in his life feel pressured, confused, and like they owed him something because he was a celebrity. And just to clarify, this isn’t me sitting down and defending the right of straight men under a queer column posted every Tuesday. This is me calling out the double standards that James Charles thinks it’s ok to live in and by. This is equality and the feminism that I strive to be part of.

If I, as a queer woman, was propositioned by a straight guy so he can “fix me up” or “show me the way of the D,” that’d be wrong and way out of line. I am who I am, no matter what sexual experiences I’ve had or thought about in my life. If I, as a queer woman, was pressured on social media to accept the advances of a straight and popular man, that’d be wrong too. This man is in a position of power over me and the dynamics are skewed where I’m made to think that he’s right because he’s got more clout and fame. And again, that’d be wrong as well.


So, when someone like James Charles comes around, throwing his celebrity status left and right as the reason why he can try to convince, trick, or turn straight boys, it deserves to be called out for the bullshit it is. No excuses can cover his actions either. The only thing he can do now is respect other people’s sexuality and their preferences like he would hope someone would respect his as a gay man. And that’s the tea.

Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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