Celebrities Don’t Owe Us Their Identities: Kit Connor Comes Out on Twitter


Meaghan Walsh, Staff Writer, Layout Editor

With the growing demand for authentic on-screen LGBTQ+ representation, there is also a demand that the actors playing these roles are also a part of the LGBTQ+ community. This can draw a fine line regarding the privacy of actors.


“Heartstopper” is an immensely popular British coming-of-age comedy based on the webcomic and graphic novel of the same name by Alice Oseman. It primarily follows the story of Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, two teens who meet at their all-boys grammar school. “Heartstopper” is a fantastic piece of media just in general, but especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation. The series is always choosing romance over trauma, which serves as a breath of fresh air for queer coming-out stories. 


The actor who plays Nick Nelson on “Heartstopper,” Kit Connor, recently came out on Twitter as bisexual. However, this was not a happy coming-out post; the tweet read “…congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself.” 


Connor has faced many months of intense speculation, rumors, and harassment about his sexuality. This occurred both online from fans, which caused him to take a break from Twitter, and in interviews. This is all despite the many times he reiterated that he did not wish to label himself publicly.


Part of the harassment Connor was receiving from fans was accusing him of “queerbaiting.” Queerbaiting is a marketing tactic used in many spheres of media content where creators hint at same-sex relationships and LGBTQ+ representation, without actually depicting that representation fully. It usually applies to television shows and fiction, but it can apply to music as well. The purpose of this tactic is to “bait” a queer audience to consume that media with the possibility of characters or relationships they would relate to, to make a profit. It is, undoubtedly, terrible. 


It goes without saying that real people can not do this. Real life people are not brought to life on a screen by a producer or created by a writer. Actors exist outside of the characters they portray in television and movies. Nick Nelson, while a super cool character, is obviously not a real person. Kit Connor is.


Queerbaiting is an important topic to discuss, and it’s just as important to hold showrunners and creators that do participate in it accountable. However, the discourse surrounding it shouldn’t end in the harassment and forced outing of celebrities. That’s not progress.


The authentic representation that “Heartstopper” brings is equally fantastic as it is necessary. Having queer actors play queer characters is essential, and the fact that most of the cast is out and open about their identities is truly amazing. But the process of self-discovery is a long and hard one, and not everyone has it all figured out. Especially at eighteen. Everybody, including actors, deserve the space to explore their identities in private.