On the subject of flamboyant clothing and gender norms, Styles said, “What women wear. What men wear. For me it’s not a question of that. If I see a nice shirt and get told, ‘But it’s for ladies.’ I think: ‘Okaaaay? Doesn’t make me want to wear it less though.’ I think the moment you feel more comfortable with yourself, it all becomes a lot easier. … I think it’s a very free, and freeing, time. I think people are asking, ‘Why not?’ a lot more. Which excites me. It’s not just clothes where lines have been blurred, it’s going across so many things. I think you can relate it to music, and how genres are blurring…”
The Guardian‘s reporter Tom Lamont then went right in: “There’s a popular perception, I say, that you don’t define as straight. The lyrics to your songs, the clothes you choose to wear, even the sleeve of your new record – all of these things get picked apart for clues that you’re bisexual. Has anyone ever asked you though?”
“Um. I guess I haaaaave been asked?” replied Styles. “But, I dunno. Why? Yeah, I think I do mean [why ask the question]. It’s not like I’m sitting on an answer, and protecting it, and holding it back. It’s not a case of: I’m not telling you cos I don’t want to tell you. It’s not: ooh this is mine and it’s not yours. … It’s: who cares? Does that make sense? It’s just: who cares?“
Added Styles: “Am I sprinkling in nuggets of sexual ambiguity to try and be more interesting? No. … In terms of how I wanna dress, and what the album sleeve’s gonna be, I tend to make decisions in terms of collaborators I want to work with. I want things to look a certain way. Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool. And more than that, I dunno, I just think sexuality’s something that’s fun. Honestly? I can’t say I’ve given it any more thought than that.”
Finally, Styles concluded: “What I would say, about the whole being-asked-about-my-sexuality thing – this is a job where you might get asked. And to complain about it, to say you hate it, and still do the job, that’s just silly. You respect that someone’s gonna ask. And you hope that they respect they might not get an answer.”
It’s a topic that has interested many an interviewer.
Harry Styles “likes to cultivate an aura of sexual ambiguity” Rolling Stone noted in a September cover story on the One Direction-gone-solo star. Styles also became known for waving rainbow flags on stage at his concerts. The magazine asked him what those flags mean to him.
Replied Styles: “I want to make people feel comfortable being whatever they want to be. Maybe at a show you can have a moment of knowing that you’re not alone. I’m aware that as a white male, I don’t go through the same things as a lot of the people that come to the shows. I can’t claim that I know what it’s like, because I don’t. So I’m not trying to say, ‘I understand what it’s like.’ I’m just trying to make people feel included and seen.”
“On tour, he had an End Gun Violence sticker on his guitar; he added a Black Lives Matter sticker, as well as the flag,” the magazine noted.
Added Styles: “It’s not about me trying to champion the cause, because I’m not the person to do that. It’s just about not ignoring it, I guess. I was a little nervous to do that because the last thing I wanted was for it to feel like I was saying, ‘Look at me! I’m the good guy!’ I didn’t want anyone who was really involved in the movement to think, ‘What the f**k do you know?’ But then when I did it, I realized people got it. Everyone in that room is on the same page and everyone knows what I stand for. I’m not saying I understand how it feels. I’m just trying to say, ‘I see you.’”
During his solo tour in 2018 he reacted to a gay fan who was holding up a sign for the singer at The Forum in Los Angeles.
Said Styles after approaching the fan: “Can I read [the sign]? It says ‘I’m gay and I love you.’”
“I love you as well,” Styles replied. “Thank you for coming. I mean, we’re all a little bit gay.”
Styles showed support for the LGBTQ community throughout the tour. He sold tour merchandise – rainbow t-shirts with the phrase “Treat People With Kindness” – that benefited GLSEN. He held up a rainbow flag that said “Make America Gay Again”.
Styles was tight-lipped when asked about his sexuality in a 2017 interview with UK tabloid The Sun.
“It’s weird for me — everyone should just be who they want to be,” said Styles. “It’s tough to justify somebody having to answer to someone else about stuff like that.”
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When asked if he gives his sexual orientation a label, Styles said: “No, I’ve never felt the need to really. No.”
But he praised artists like Miley Cyrus, who do discuss it: “Being in a creative field, it’s important to be progressive. People doing stuff like that is great.”
Styles also told a French talk show that he sees LGBT equality as something that’s “fundamental” and not political.
In 2014, Styles told One Direction bandmate Niall Horan “Hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it,” when Horan was asked about dating men.