One Direction and their countless millions of fans are arguably one of the most misunderstood groups of people on the planet. Fans of One Direction are often portrayed as obsessive and unbalanced, but of course, the truth is very different. One Direction have a fan base that is spread across every corner of the world and has a population that exceeds that of many countries. It sounds obvious to state, but One Direction fans are representative of the general population.
One Direction fans are of every race, religion, color creed, and sexuality. They are young and old and able to represent every level of ability. In short, One Direction fans are just like you and I, but for some reason, the portrayal of those fans is not always fair or balanced.
It could be argued that the portrayal of One Direction fans as unbalanced began with the much criticized Channel 4 documentary called Crazy About One Direction. As has been widely reported in the Inquisitr, One Direction fans are quick to support charities favored by the band members. They have also pulled together to combat bad behavior and cyber bullying within the huge fandom.
One Direction NDA [No Drama Allowed] won an extra smile award for their work combatting cyber-bullying. They also run charity drives raising cash for causes supported by members of the band.
— OneDirectionNDA (@OneDirectionNDA) December 21, 2015
As many will be aware, there have been rumors for years that various members of One Direction have been in relationships with each other. Band members have supported LGBTQ+ charities and paraded the “pride” rainbow flag onstage. Pink News have even reported that an official government poll in the U.K. found that One Direction is the music act with the strongest correlation to gay men. You would be forgiven for thinking that homophobia would not be an issue within the One Direction fandom.
The reality, of course, is that, as in any section of the world’s population, some within the One Direction fandom are less tolerant than others. According to MTV, an incident at a One Direction concert in Germany along with other homophobic incidents and the urgent need for representation in the fandom, led to the formation of Rainbow Direction, a support group for LGBTQ+ fans within the fandom. This happened via the platform of Take Me Home From Narnia, a Tumblr-based group aiming to battle homophobia and hate in the 1D online fan community and to provide educational resources for fans navigating their sexual identity.
— Becoming Larry (@SiriusFeanor) June 27, 2016
Rainbow Direction co-founder Li was waiting in line for a One Direction concert in Hamburg and was wearing a tiny gay pride pin. She was abused by the mother of another fan.
“A mother of a fan saw a teeny, tiny gay pride pin I was wearing, and she went off about it. [She asked] how could I, as an adult, be allowed to be at a show like this when I support views like that? It was traumatic. I got angry and upset.”
Li noticed a same-sex couple nearby who were visibly upset by the exchange and said “that was when I woke up and thought: ‘Something has to change about the way homophobia is entering this fandom.'”
That unpleasant exchange led to the formation of Rainbow Direction, a group that provides a safe space on the internet for LGBTQ+ One Direction fans. Rainbow Direction has arranged meet-ups at One Direction concerts throughout the world. More than 4000 Rainbow Direction participants turned up bringing rainbows and pride colours and hosted more than 50 meet-ups across the world during One Direction’s 2014 and 2015 tours.
— Olivia Griggs☄ (@Olivia_Griggs) June 17, 2016
Of course, within any large group of people, there will inevitably be tensions. Nothing splits the One Direction fandom more that “Larry Stylinson.” Many fans hold the view that Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are a couple and many other fans are outraged at the suggestion. As a result, Rainbow Direction are often accused of pushing the “Larry” agenda, an accusation that is unfair and totally misses the point.
The real point of Rainbow Direction is that it provides much-needed support for a community that is often marginalized even within the One Direction fandom. As reported by LGBTQ Nation One Direction members have shown their support onstage by wishing fans “Happy Pride” and donning rainbow flags at shows. Every Rainbow flag, every small show of support is a blow against prejudice and discrimination, another small step down the road of respect and tolerance.
[Photo by Eduardo Verdugo/AP: Composite by Alan Ewart]