In a strange departure from the left's typical support for gender ambiguity, flamboyant pop star Harry Styles is reportedly under fire from some progressive critics for refusing to say publicly whether or not he is bisexual.
The backlash apparently stems from a recent interview he conducted with Better Homes & Garden, published on Tuesday, in which the former boy band singer turned solo act offered a controversially dodgy answer on the subject.
Citing his desire for personal privacy, Styles rebutted the media's frequent attempts to find clarity regarding his sexual orientation, calling the concept "outdated," anyways.
"I've been really open with it with my friends, but that's my personal experience; it's mine," he told the magazine. "The whole point of where we should be heading, which is toward accepting everybody and being more open, is that it doesn't matter, and it's about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you're checking."
Some evidently found his reasons for not disclosing who he's slept with to be fair enough. But according to EuroNews, others were left dissatisfied.
The outlet reported that some critics on social media "critiqued his privilege as an ostensibly straight man to be able to remove himself from discussions while still embracing a queer aesthetic."
The concept is reportedly known as "queerbaiting," and it loosely describes a scenario in which someone adopts the aesthetics of queer culture without committing to identifying with LGBT culture at large.
"To critics, queerbaiting allows people a free ride on the aesthetic without the personal difficulties associated with openly identifying as queer in a heteronormative world," EuroNews reported.
In Styles' case, queer critics charge that he is benefitting from LGBTQ+ support without publicly coming out as bisexual.
One might think that Styles' increasingly outward embrace of the LGBTQ+ movement would be celebrated by those in the camp.
But it seems the pop star's Pride flag-waving and extravagant dress-wearing are not enough in the new transgender-crazed world. He needs to reject the heteronormative lifestyle in full or go back to being a normal masculine male.
"Translation: I’m a straight man that wants to keep my queerbait marketing strategy," one critic charged.
They added: "If he is actually queer it would be more important for him to voice that than keep it ambiguous. People in our community (especially black people) are constantly at risk for showing who they are and doing it flamboyantly, and that’s the reason we’re at the place we are now."
"Ding ding ding!!!" one person replied in approval of the message.
Another critic wrote: "That would be nice if that was the case, but queerness is under attack constantly. Especially in some states where u can't even say gay. We can't all live in 2050 where ambiguous sexuality is the norm. We are living in 2022 and we need allies who will be loud and stand with us."
"No hate but it seems more like a marketing strategy than anything else, he is benefiting from the sexual ambiguity around him, if he comes out as gay or bi....he'll be less relevant cuz there is nothing new about a queer person wearing a dress or painting his nails," added another.
Still another commenter voiced a similar rebuke, saying, "I respect that he wants to preserve his own experiences, but then, he shouldn't sell it like it doesn't matter, especially when people die in the middle of these speeches, I believe we need and must talk it out loud and proud, today more than ever."
And the list went on. It's a strange new world.