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Harry Styles Wants More ‘Tender’ Sex in Gay Films, Proving He’s Never Seen Any — Opinion

In promoting his upcoming film "My Policeman," the pop star is priming audiences to brace for another sexless gay love story.

Harry Styles

Harry Styles

Lexie Moreland for WWD

Though it was flimsy from the start, the haute couture shroud of mystery Harry Styles drapes around his sexuality is starting to fray. The British pop star has long been accused of queerbaiting, famously donning the occasional skirt for a high-fashion photo shoot while happily enjoying the privileges of the heterosexual lifestyle and dating Olivia Wilde.  The singer’s fan base, which is primarily made up of teenage girls and 40-something gay men clinging to their youth, may be fooled by such empty promises, but more astute cultured queers can see right through it. And he’s doing himself no favors.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Styles gave himself away in more ways than one when discussing his upcoming film “My Policeman.” His comments not only revealed a lack of awareness around contemporary LGBTQ issues, but he also made bold claims about gay sex in film that are just patently untrue.

Set in 1950s Britain, “My Policeman” sees Styles playing a closeted gay cop navigating two romances, one with a man and the other with a woman. “My Policeman” will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, so critics haven’t seen it yet, but if Styles’ comments are any indication, we should be bracing for yet another sexless gay period drama.

“It’s obviously pretty unfathomable now to think, ‘Oh, you couldn’t be gay. That was illegal,’” Styles said. “I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it. It’s not like ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”

Styles seems wholly unaware of the challenges facing LGBTQ people around the world today. It’s not unfathomable to think it was illegal for being gay when consensual sex between same sex couples is still illegal in 70 countries, nearly half of which are Commonwealth jurisdictions. Or the fact that in the United States, there are no laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in 27 states.

Of course, it isn’t Styles’ fault that Hollywood is so obsessed with our oppression that every mainstream LGBTQ film has to be set at least fifty years ago. (See “Ammonite,” “The Boys in The Band,” even “Brokeback Mountain.”) Much like the majority of Black films being about slavery and the civil rights era, keeping LGBTQ stories in the past ensures audiences don’t get to see images of happy, thriving LGBTQ people living their lives. God forbid we give anyone the idea that being gay won’t result in abject misery and self-denial.

But Styles probably doesn’t know this, because he clearly hasn’t seen too many LGBTQ films.

“So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it,” he said. “There will be, I would imagine, some people who watch it who were very much alive during this time when it was illegal to be gay, and [Michael] wanted to show that it’s tender and loving and sensitive.”

Unless he’s talking about porn, most cinephiles would be hard pressed to name what film Styles is talking about. Where lesbian sex is often fetishized for a heterosexual male gaze (usually to the point of being unrecognizable), gay male sex is consistently neutered out of existence in mainstream Hollywood films — even gay love stories.

While no one denies “Brokeback Mountain” was beautiful and groundbreaking, the hard-nosed cowboy narrative has become a community-wide joke for its infamously implausible sex scene. (Please do not attempt your first-time anal sex with only the spit on your hand.) For a more recent example we only gaze longingly at yet another cinematic masterpiece that finished too soon, “Call Me By Your Name,” which famously panned away to the window during the lovers’ one sex scene together. (Peaches, while fruity, don’t actually count as gay.)

Harry Styles fans may have found much to enjoy about this interview; the colorful clothes, the episodes of “Love Island” he’s looking forward to watching. But the facade of his speculated sexual or gender fluidity is quickly crumbling, and it’s casting a shadow of doubt on “My Policeman,” too.

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