Pop singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes addresses “this massive, massive thing for the last five years about me being gay” in a new cover story in Rolling Stone.
Mendes, who told his followers he’s not gay in a 2016 video posted to social media, said the reaction to that video was that people speculated about his sexual orientation even more.
Mendes told Rolling Stone that he’s obsessive about what people are saying on social media and does things like change the way he crosses his legs based on the comments from an anonymous stranger. He added: “In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone — like a girl — in public, to prove to people that I’m not gay. Even though in my heart I know that it’s not a bad thing. There’s still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me.”
Mendes also related an inner monologue he had, imagining responding to his followers:“I thought, ‘You f**king guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay and terrified of coming out.’ That’s something that kills people. That’s how sensitive it is. Do you like the songs? Do you like me? Who cares if I’m gay?”
Mendes also said he regretted a video that appeared on social media of a moment backstage with Taylor Swift when she applied glittery make-up to his face: “I felt sick. I was like, ‘F**k, why did I let her post that?’ I just fed the fire that I’m terrified of….Maybe I am a little more feminine — but that’s the way it is. That’s why I am me.”
The profile adds that Mendes had a panic attack while watching Love, Simon (which is about a young gay kid coming out of the closet) and had to leave early.
Said Mendes in 2016: “So I don’t usually do this or bring up problems but I was on YouTube just watching some of my interviews and I was going down the comments and noticed a lot of people were saying I gave them a “gay vibe”. First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t made a difference if I was or if I wasn’t. The focus should be on the music and not my sexuality. Now I know 99% of you guys aren’t making assumptions like this but this is for the 1% of you that are. I just want you guys before you judge someone on the way they speak or act to think, I want you guys to think ‘hey, maybe I shouldn’t be judging someone’ or ‘wait it actually doesn’t even matter.’ They can do or be or feel however they want to feel. Now I’m not frustrated because people were saying that I was gay at all, I have no problem with that cause it wouldn’t make a difference to me. I’m frustrated because in this day and age people have the audacity to…write online that I’m gay as if it were a bad thing.That’s all I really have to say about that. I just wish those 1% of people would grow up. I love you guys.”