Shawn Mendes gave an interview to The Guardian about his rise to fame, and one of the topics touched on was speculation about his sexual orientation.
Said Mendes: “For me it’s hurtful. I get mad when people assume things about me because I imagine the people who don’t have the support system I have and how that must affect them. That was why I was so angry, and you can see I still get riled up, because I don’t think people understand that when you come at me about something that’s stupid you hurt so many other people. They might not be speaking, but they’re listening.”
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, who has 42 million followers on Instagram, told Rolling Stone last November that he’s obsessive about what people are saying on social media (an assertion he repeats to The Guardian) 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?”