Shawn Mendes opened up about where he’s at with his career and his identity now that his fourth studio album, Wonder, has hit the streets.
Mendes told The Guardian that in the early years of his career “there was a desperation for me to come out as being gay, which is such a ridiculous thing.”
“I got upset because I know people who are gay who haven’t come out and I know the suffering they experience because of that,” Mendes added. “It’s just completely ignorant and insensitive of people to be on that sh*t.”
Mendes told The Guardian in 2019: “For me [speculation about my sexual orientation is] 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 told Rolling Stone in 2018 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?”