Harry Styles turns 30: how the English artist went from One Direction heartthrob to queer symbol


Luisa Monte

Harry Styles turns 30 and reaches adulthood as a sexy, ingratiating millennial with a “fearless and limitless” vision of fashion, as defined by Dazed magazine, for which he posed in women’s clothing a couple of years ago .

Far from the stereotypical image of the heartthrobs of ten years ago, when he was part of the boy band One Direction, and close to the more progressive wing of the generation he grew up with — driven by social agendas and a defender of gender freedom —, Styles has become a queer symbol.

Discovered by producer Simon Cowell in the competition The That was ten years ago, exactly in 2014. In classic scenes of the fan-idol relationship, girls screamed desperately at the slightest approach from the boy. His face was on magazine covers, his relationships (including Taylor Swift) were exposed and envied on the networks, in the press, everywhere.

Throughout the years of One Direction, rumors suggested that Harry and Louis Tomlison, former bandmate, were having an affair. “Larry” (a combination of names) was trending on Twitter (today X), it was a topic talked about around the world, with the exception of themselves.

Louis, Styles’ alleged love interest, even said in an interview that the rumors had shaken their friendship, as they were publicly dating famous girls, such as Eleanor Calder and Olivia Wilde.

Harry has never commented on his sexuality openly and says he has never exposed any relationship. But it is a fact that, after leaving One Direction, he adopted looks and postures identified as gender fluid and started singing songs like “Watermelon Sugar”, a true ode to the female orgasm.

Faced with this transition, which is a bit abrupt in the opinion of some, he was accused of practicing “queerbating”, a term that, on the internet, means using symbols of LGBTQIA+ culture just to attract the group’s attention. Upon receiving the Grammy for Best Album of the Year in 2023, he kissed Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi and thanked him for the award with a criticized speech: “That doesn’t happen a lot to people like me.”

The fact is that Harry went from heartthrob to queer symbol following his own generation, which quickly opened up to social issues, combating homophobia and supporting all forms of love. A generation that was already tired of straight idols accused of abuse, harassment or betrayal, like Johnny Depp or Neymar, saw what they were looking for: a transgressive and open-minded idol, without prejudice.

At the same time, the heartthrob is still there. All of his publicly exposed relationships have been heterosexual (he is currently dating actress Taylor Russell). In cinemas, in the same year that he acted in “Don’t Worry Dear”, in which he plays a romantic partner with Florence Pugh, he generated excitement when he performed in gay sex scenes in “My Policeman”.

For the new decade, the pop star has not released a new album or appearance in films yet. He only changed his look (he abandoned his curls and radically shaved his head) and made appearances at fashion events. But, if we can expect anything, we will expect this dubiousness between heartthrob and deconstructed. Old and new Harry Styles.

Source: Folha

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