In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Sunday (or when I’m feeling spicy) I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community from a Latina perspective. Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
P.S. I, Lyra Hale, do not give any site permission to copy or repost my work in any form. If you are reading this on any site besides Fangirlish, it has been stolen.
Kit Connor, the British actor who plays Nick Nelson in Heartstopper, has been forced to out himself by a bunch of entitled and biphobic assholes without a shred of decency or respect for his journey. And that’s just my opening sentence.
Let’s really break it down as to why I, a bisexual, am absolutely livid at the audacity of a small collection of Heartstopper fans who think Connor owes them an answer. And it’s important to note that “small” part before we dive in. Because if you go on Twitter right now, there is so much love coming Connor’s way, as there should be. But then there’s that small but loud portion of the fandom that makes my blood boil and led to the subsequent forced outing of Kit Connor. We’re going to call them toxic stans.
So, let’s backtrack first for those who don’t know.
Connor, who is filming A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, was caught hanging out with his castmate Maia Reficco. (And no, I’m not going to share the tweets here. The comments are abysmal.) This led to toxic Heartstopper stans flipping out. They were upset that another “straight white man” was playing an LGBTQ+ character. They demanded that Connor be removed from Heartstopper as he was, at least to them, queerbaiting. They even went so far as to send death threats to Reficco.
In response to this barrage of garbage coming Connor and Reficco’s way, the former came out on Twitter by saying, “back for a minute. i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. bye.”
Now, there’s so much to break down with this. But I want to start with what is owed. Because toxic stans think they are owed Connor’s truth. And part of me gets it. Representation is important and our communities have long lived with straight people playing us. But even then, Connor doesn’t owe anyone jack shit. Repeat after me. He doesn’t owe anyone jack shit. His journey to discovering his sexuality is his alone and should not be dictated by anyone besides himself.
If anything, Connor deserves heaps of grace. When you’re 18, you’re at the start of your self-discovery journey. Here is where you experiment, try out new things and start to understand how you fit into this big and scary world. It’s a delicate time for anyone. And it’s an especially delicate time for LGBTQ+ youth, especially in the face of rampant homophobia that we are still fighting through every single day. And for some reason, these toxic stans think that they deserve Connor’s truth on their timetable.
Not on my fucking watch or on the watch of any other Heartstopper fans who have Connor’s back.
He does not owe anyone an explanation as to who he is or who he is attracted to. That is his own personal business. And questioning that, demanding an answer, shows how self-centered, ignorant, and truly detached from reality some people are. It also shows that these people don’t truly care what makes Connor happy or that they respected him in the first place. He is something to them that they think they are owed for watching or supporting. Kit Connor, again, doesn’t owe anyone jack shit.
Then there are the accusations of queerbaiting. *fixes glasses*
Queerbaiting is a construct created by the media. When a TV show, movie, book, or another piece of content teases an LGBTQ+ couple as a means of attracting queer consumers, while having no intention of bringing the couple together, that is queerbaiting. Connor, who is not the character he plays on Heartstopper, is not a piece of media. He is a human being who is, again, at the start of his self-discovery journey.
Throwing the word “queerbaiting” around like it means nothing is another sign that these toxic stans do not understand the word. Furthermore, they don’t care to understand the word. Their purpose is to stir the pot, yell the loudest they can, and make it seem like they are unequivocally right. But the internet backlash against these assholes is proof enough that there will always be people to stand up, speak out, and call these people out on their bullshit.
Let’s not forget the rampant and blatant biphobia by these toxic stans.
As a bisexual person, I know how those in our communities see us. Not everyone, of course. But there are a lot of people that think we are greedy or not to be trusted. But the one thing that really gets me, that grates my very existence, is the thought that we’re suddenly not part of the queer community because we end up with someone of the opposite sex. Simply put, that is biphobic and invalidates our experiences as bisexual people who love women and men to varying degrees.
So when I see people reacting with anger and disgust to Connor hanging out with Reficco, it breaks my heart. Because before he even came out, they completely ignored the mere thought that he could be bisexual as if it wasn’t real. It is real. And if anything, there’s no one else better to play Nick on Heartstopper. And these toxic stans coming after Connor proves that they didn’t understand a lick of Nick’s journey and would throw him to the wayside if he started going out with a girl instead of Charlie.
Before I sign off, because this thing is getting quite long for me, I wanted to address the toxic stans who are now complaining that Connor is looking for attention with his coming out as bisexual. He didn’t come out because he had a choice. He did it because his costar was getting harassed and the show’s core message of love, kindness, and hope was being darkened by unfounded accusations from those who thought they were owed something. Connor came out to stop the madness, not because he was looking for attention.
So, not so kindly, I would like these toxic Heartstopper stans to fuck off.
Fuck off and don’t come back crying over Charlie and Nick in season 2 of Heartstopper when you don’t even respect one of the main actors. Fuck off and stop making excuses for your ignorance and lack of empathy. Fuck off and stop blaming Connor for putting a stop to the accusations of queerbaiting and harassment of his costars by coming out. Fuck off for treating bisexuality as if it’s not even an option and not a reality of our lives as part of the LGBTQ+ community. And fuck off if you think you have any say in Kit Connor’s life, journey, or how he presents himself to this world.
You don’t. You never will.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Sunday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)