Over the past few months I have written extensively about One Direction. Make no mistake One Direction fans are a passionate lot. I have been blessed by having a great deal of support from many One Direction fans for my writing. As I have developed contacts and online friendships I have been hugely impressed by the thoughtfulness, analytical skills and friendliness of those I have interacted with.
I have written extensively about the range of incredible projects devised by One Direction fans. From charity fundraising, anti-bullying projects and support for LGBTQA causes I have been mightily impressed by the efforts of One Direction fans to do their bit to make the world a better place. I had seen little of the much talked about dark and nasty side of the One Direction fandom.
Now to be fair I had been warned by some One Direction fans that this side of the fandom was alive and well, but I had never seen it personally. Until yesterday.
I have always been very open with those One Direction fans that I interact with. I knew that at some point I would write things that the fans don’t agree with and don’t like. What I didn’t expect was the level of hate and pure nastiness that came my way after an article I wrote yesterday.
In that article I put forward the view that Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson’s rumoured relationship, dubbed Larry Stylinson by One Direction fans elevated “Larry” to the position of gay icons. Now I was extremely careful to recognise that the issue is one that causes division between One Direction fans. I carefully balanced the article to ensure that I pointed out that both sides of the argument put forward strong and convincing arguments to support their own case. That said I did not expect everyone to understand what I was trying to say.
My argument is actually a very simple one. It makes no difference whether to not Styles and Tomlinson are gay, straight or any other sexuality you care to mention. The fact that tens of millions of people are aware of the rumours and as a result discuss LBGTQA matters can only be a good thing. Awareness is raised about the issues and as a result One Direction’s fans come to realise that every sexuality or none is legitimate and normal.
Just last year a poll by the UK Governments YouGov named One Direction as the band that the greatest proportion of gay people in the UK identified with. Add to that Harry Styles in particular has been very supportive of LGBTQA causes. Styles frequently wraps himself in the rainbow flag on stage. Styles is telling One Direction fans in no uncertain terms that every sexuality and none is OK.
One Direction between them have well over 100 million followers on social media. Their support for LGBTQA causes is beyond question. In my book that gives One Direction “gay icon” status.
You can disagree, that is fine and that is your right. I have no problem with people challenging my views and thought. Only by considering wider and opposing views can we expect to learn and broaden our own thinking. If you disagree with me by all means say so and explain why. It was somewhat to my surprise that some One Direction fans simply see the words Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Larry and Gay in the same sentence and feel that they have the right to spew forward hatred.
I suspect that many of those who have been urging me to kill myself didn’t even read the article. If they did they certainly did not approach it with an open mind.
I’m not sure what those people expect to achieve by spewing out hatred. Do they think I will be silenced? Do they expect viciousness to change my views, do they think I can be bullied? I will let those haters into a secret. You don’t get heard when you behave like this, you get ignored. The way to be heard is to speak calmly and respectfully to lay out your own position. This seems to be something that is lost on a small proportion of One Direction fans.
I am a little saddened by this but it most certainly will not silence me and here is a little message to the haters who say Harry and Louis do nothing to support the LBGTQA community