Netflix’s adaptation of the graphic novel Heartstopper, was a breath of fresh air for teen drama and was a huge win for the long marginalised LGBTQIA+ community. Despite the glowing appraise for the series online, the internet severely failed Kit Connor, one of the show’s leads, who walked away feeling bitter after fans forced him to out himself online.
The unpleasant experience came after Connor was driven off Twitter by fans who accused the young actor of “queerbaiting” after a video surfaced of him holding hands with a woman. The backlash led Connor to tweet out “back for a minute. 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,” before deleting his account.
It’s an unfortunate instance of eager fans letting the internet mob mentality interfere with an act that should come on your own terms—and your own terms only.
Despite the unpleasantness of having to come out in the face of a ravenous Twitter mob of trolls demanding answers for something that doesn’t concern them in the slightest (and, in Connor’s words indicates that they may have missed the entire point of the show in the first place), the now 19-year-old is absolutely thriving in the wake of the show’s success and as a new gen Z role model.
In an interview with British Vogue from 4 July 2023, the Emmy award winning actor revealed that he wasn’t angry at fans, more so “disappointed in their reaction.” Thankfully the unfortunate online experience didn’t disrupt the star too much, who went on to elaborate on his coming out, by telling the magazine: “It was just a very natural process for me; I didn’t really have an ‘oh, shit’ moment. It just became more and more evident.”
Thankfully the world has come a long way in its response to the LGBTQ+ community, it’s almost ironic that the ones who forced Connor into an awkward position were mostly overzealous fans of the show. Connor was well supported by his family after coming out, he told Vogue, and he even went on to say that the Heartstopper team were fantastic, adding that his experience on the show “has gained me some of the best friends I’ve ever had. It gave me a lot more confidence and pride in myself.”
Fans clamouring for a second season will be pleased to know that it is set to drop on 3 August. Just remember to keep it cool this time and not force anyone to out themselves, okay?