[In light of some really horrible tweets posted to the @Louis_Tomlinson Twitter account, my cousin Emma wrote an essay responding to this.]
I don’t believe Louis Tomlinson is a homophobe.
If you’re arriving late to this party, or don’t care at all about One Direction (why do you not care about One Direction? Love yourself, listen to their music.), allow me to fill you in. Sunday November 2nd, 2014 saw an interview of Harry Styles and Liam Payne posted online by ODE. In this interview, Harry and Liam are asked what traits they look for in a girl. Liam responds with a cheeky, “Female, it’s a good trait.” Harry then replied, with a grin, “not that important.” This, of course, fueled massive speculation about Harry’s sexuality, but that's nothing new.
About a week later, fellow 1D member Louis Tomlinson was photographed at the X-Factor studios wearing a shirt with the rainbow Apple logo on it – a logo which had recently been used as a symbol of support for Apple CEO Tim Cook, who a few days prior had come out as gay. Yes, it is possible that Louis just liked the old Apple logo and pays no attention to recent events and it’s all a coincidence. But do you really think that’s the case?
Enter the Sunday November 9th, 2014 article in The Independent: “Louis Tomlinson supports gay Apple CEO Time Cook – days after Harry Styles’ comments on gender and sexuality.” Nowhere in this article does it speculate or even mention Louis’s sexuality; it praises his support of the LGBTQA+ community and reminds us of Harry’s comments the week before. That is literally all.
And yet, come Monday November 10th, 2014, a tweet was posted to Louis’s Twitter account to the writer of the article: “The fact that you work for such a ‘credible’ paper and you would talk such rubbish is laughable. I am in fact straight.” And then a few minutes later: “Fucking ridiculous I even have to tweet that shit !”
I read those tweets and my heart dropped into my stomach.
You could tell me, “Emma, it’s a harmless comment, it’s a celebrity defending their sexuality! No big deal, you’re overreacting!” But I’m not. And the countless other queer 1D fans who were sickened and hurt by this are not overreacting either.
First off, nowhere in the article does anyone insinuate anything about Louis’s sexuality. It is an overwhelmingly positive piece about his support of the LGBTQA+ community. When I saw those photos of his shirt the other day, I was beyond thrilled. To have such open support of someone like me on a celebrity of that status when so much of the world is constantly telling me and people like me that we’re wrong for existing, it’s not a feeling I can describe. It was incredibly important.
And then, to have that all followed up by these tweets that lash out at someone who dares to equate his wearing a t-shirt as support, that call his alleged support of non-heterosexual people “rubbish,” I can’t describe how that feels either. Countless posts are going around social media right now of One Direction fans supporting each other and offering an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on after these comments. The One Direction fan base is primarily young women, with a large subset of those young fans being non-heterosexual. Having one of the people we love and support aggressively trying to distance himself from our community in such a blatant way does nothing to support these young women in their journey to finding and accepting themselves. It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest how Louis Tomlinson identifies; what matters to me is the hundreds of thousands of young people who see what gets posted to that Twitter account, and how irresponsible it is to use that kind of platform to be so rude and aggressive about supporting LGBTAQ+ people.
But I don’t believe Louis Tomlinson is a homophobe. I’ve seen enough interviews and heard enough firsthand fan accounts of what he’s like to not believe for a second that he wrote those tweets. [Note from Odelia: Louis has had countless opportunities to dispel actual rumors surrounding his sexuality, especially yesterday during the livestream when he was asked several times about the "oddest rumors" he's heard about himself, and could've also talked about his girlfriend Eleanor when he was prompted (twice), but he didn't.] But I believe someone on his team wants us to think he did, and I think that person or those people don’t care about non-heterosexual 1D fans or people in general. And to be honest, I couldn’t be less surprised, but I also couldn’t be more disappointed.
Queer One Direction fans shouldn’t be made to feel like less valuable members of the family, just as all queer people should not be made to feel less important than their heterosexual peers. Whether this was a horribly miscalculated PR move or I drastically misread Louis’s character and it actually was him tweeting those things, an apology and a shift in views is more than necessary. Being rumored to be gay or bisexual or trans or asexual or pansexual or anything not cis-heterosexual is not something people need to defend themselves against, celebrity or not. It’s almost 2015, friends; queer people are everywhere, and it’s time to stop treating us like we’re less worthy of your respect because of who we are.