At a show in Paris several days ago, as part on his latest tour, everyone’s favourite former 1D member (ahem, after Zayn, obviously) Harry Styles stepped up to the mic to debut his new track ‘Medicine’. It starts out like any other pleasant 2018 poppy, rocky song sung by a heartthrob ex-boybander – but quickly turns into something a little more interesting.
On the track, he sings: “The boys and the girls are in, I’ll mess around with them, and I’m OK with it.”
He adds, in his beautiful, beautiful voice: “I’m coming down, I figured out I kinda like it, and when I sleep I’m gonna dream of how you tasted.”
Is it me or are those lyrics pretty hot? Only me? Cool.
Now, and this isn’t really earth-shattering news in 2018 considering we’re all probably a little bit sexually fluid, a load of people have now obviously interpreted the song as Harry’s bisexual ‘coming out’ party. During the show, Harry also performed with a rainbow pride flag, a picture of which was posted on his official Twitter page.
But obviously, to some people, it is a big deal. Harry Styles, serial bloody shagger of older women and other famous people might actually also be into men. I get it. It’s a shock. But it really shouldn’t be.
In fact, Harry’s hinted at this in the past; in an interview with The Sun in 2017, Styles was asked about fellow star Miley Cyrus’ pansexuality. He replied:
“Being in a creative field, it’s important to be progressive. People doing stuff like that is great.
“It’s weird for me - everyone should just be who they want to be. It’s tough to justify somebody having to answer to someone else about stuff like that.
“I’ve never felt the need to really. I don’t feel like it’s something I’ve ever felt like I have to explain about myself.”
And, rightly so. It’s nobody’s business really but if ‘Medicine’ is Harry’s way of publicly sharing his bisexuality with the world then to that I say: that’s awesome! Myself and the LGBT+ world welcomes you with our big, queer, open arms.
But also, if ‘Medicine’ is not Harry publicly coming out and just him ambiguously singing about non-hetero love to make his LGBT fans feel a little more comfortable, then that’s pretty damn cool too. Having a big Harry Styles-shaped ally in the world is extremely welcome. Seeing a modern man stand on stage and sing about something as complex as this without seeming bashful or ashamed is quite a thing to behold. Openly talking about sexuality is something lots of guys still struggle to do in 2018.
Harry Styles has a huge platform with millions of young people (gay, straight, bi, trans and everything in between) all around the world. We need positive messages like this.
By simply opening up the discussion with a few choice lyrics, Styles is boosting bi visibility in pop culture. Even if Harry isn’t revealing anything. We’re talking about it and that’s a very good thing for male sexuality. We need to be more open about these things. While there have been high-profile, complex portrayals of bisexual women in recent years (Broad City, Black Mirror’s ’San Junipero’), things have always been a little lacking in terms of male bisexuality on screen. *Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) on Game of Thrones is of course one of the few, very sexy exceptions.
If this is Harry casually coming out for the world to see it’s a step forward. There’s no Piers Morgan-style sit-down interview with the implicit suggestion there’s something shameful that needs to be ‘revealed’. Instead, he did it in a joyous, positive way in front of thousands of screaming fans who are all eating up his ‘queer’ music.
Just like Ezra Miller, it turns out modern men don’t want to be boxed in.
And of course, Harry’s not the first person to do this; he joins other artists who’ve explored ideas of queer sexuality in their music like Frank Ocean, Years & Years and Lady Gaga to name a tiny handful.
Sure, Harry’s position as a wealthy, white man will mean he has a very different experience to other, more marginalised groups who don’t have the same resources or influence. But it’s great to have yet another pop culture figure who can help draw attention to issues like LGBT+ homelessness and violence against queer people, in the UK and around the world. Suddenly, it’s a little bit easier for other men to also step out of the closet and accept that being gay or bi is actually… absolutely fine.
Right now Harry, along with a lot of straight society, is finding out something we’ve already known for a long time: it’s cool to be queer. Who wants to live a stuffy life defined by old-fashioned gender roles? Just be who you damn well want to be, sleep with whoever you want to sleep with and love whoever you want to love.
Gay, straight or bi - Harry Styles is the perfect example for how men should treat sexuality in 2018. Onwards and upwards.