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Shawn Mendes says he makes an effort to appear with women in public to prove he’s not gay, according to a Rolling Stone profile published on Monday.
The “Stitches” singer explained in the interview how fans’ obsession with his sexuality has made him feel uncomfortable.
“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,” Mendes told Rolling Stone. “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.”
He said people on Snapchat and YouTube started speculating his sexuality back in December 2017, saying Mendes was sending them a “gay vibe.”
“First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or wasn’t,” Mendes said on his Snapchat story at the time.
After the Rolling Stone story, many of Mendes’ fans on Twitter were quick to show their love toward the artist.
One Twitter user @DolanDramaQueen commented, “You are the soul of our generation. We will change the world and you are our sparkle. Thank you for being so truthful.”
I just needed to say… @ShawnMendes respect, respect, RESPECT 👏👏👏 Just got the time to read your @RollingStone interview. You are the soul of our generation. We will change the World and You are our sparkle. Thank you for being so truthful. 💓 pic.twitter.com/RnRktm4KpC
— Paula 💜 (@DolanDramaQueen) November 26, 2018
Yall really bullied Shawn Mendes into feeling like he couldn't enjoy feminine things without being painted as gay, you pushed a sexuality onto him and forced him to over analyse what he actually likes, and now that he spoke openly about it you call him a homophobe? check yourself
— micklen (@mickythick) November 26, 2018
Guys this is so sad. I really love shawn but seeing this.. guys as a human being please let's stop this. Stop trying to control people's sexuality or act likehe is the way you wanna see- it hurts, it's his privacy we won't want him to hate us❤ we love u anyway u r @ShawnMendes pic.twitter.com/5rK3mRyB8G
— Ariana Grande (@thekittenb) November 26, 2018
But some argued that Mendes’s frustrations with being labeled gay illustrates internalized homophobia.
Shawn Mendes is tired of being called gay so he came out as homophobic instead pic.twitter.com/JOXCTfy4bz
— taylor banks💅🏻 (@MISSWOR1D) November 26, 2018
If there’s no problem with being gay then why is he waking up with cold sweats over being called gay
— taylor banks💅🏻 (@MISSWOR1D) November 26, 2018
Mendes followed up the profile with a tweet on Monday, writing, “Of course i have my insecurities and struggles but that’s just one part of me. Sometimes the positive side of a story doesn’t always get fully told and I wish it had here.”
Of course i have my insecurities and struggles but that’s just one part of me. Sometimes the positive side of a story doesn’t always get fully told and I wish it had here. I love what i do and i love you guys so much ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dmIHCtFc7z
— Shawn Mendes (@ShawnMendes) November 26, 2018
Mendes told Rolling Stone that as a kid, he would put glitter on his eyelids to make his parents laugh and grew up with 15 female cousins. “Braiding hair and painting nails. Maybe I am a little more feminine—but that’s the way it is. That’s why I am me.”
H/T Rolling Stone
Sunny Kim studies journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She's an editorial intern with the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in the Daily Texan and Popular Mechanics.