Thursday, April 18, 2024

Heartstopper’s Kit Connor comes out as bisexual after fans accused him of ‘queerbaiting’

Heartstopper actor Kit Connor, who plays Nick Nelson on the queer, high school Netflix show, recently came out as bisexual on Twitter. Connor left Twitter in September after certain Heartstopper fans online accused him of queerbaiting because a video of him holding hands with his Cuban Girls’ Guide co-star Maia Reficco while they were in Paris, France. He returned to the social media platform on Monday to come out as bisexual after feeling “forced” by the conversation around his sexuality and the show.

“Back for a minute,” Connor wrote in the tweet. “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.”

The term “queerbaiting” originally came about to describe when pieces of media would hint at queer relationships or feelings between characters to entice LGBTQ+ viewers, without ever actually making those feelings or relationships explicit in the text. In recent years, it has started to become tied to the notion of LGBTQ+ people playing queer characters in media as well, which is where the fan interest in actors’ sexualities has become more prominent, even to the point of overstepping boundaries or harassment.

The creator of Heartstopper, Alice Oseman, responded to Kit Connor on Twitter with a supportive message.

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes,” Oseman wrote. “I hope all those people are embarrassed as FUCK. Kit you are amazing.”

Oseman has made representing multiple identities a priority for Heartstopper. She herself is asexual, and wants to provide more opportunities for people from across marginalized identities to have their stories told.

“Just being able to help someone in some small way on their journey [by representing them in her stories] is a really special thing as a creator and more than I ever could have hoped for,” Oseman told PinkNews. “I’ve always believed that in young adult fiction, we should care about all young people, and as a creative, I’m always trying to be careful about treating my readers with respect and giving representation where I can.”

Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty is a freelance games writer and esports expert.