One Direction stars Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are well-known for their support of gay equality causes. What is perhaps less well-known is that One Direction fans have created a network that sets out to support LGBTQ fans by making the One Direction fandom a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable place for all fans. As reported by the Daily Star earlier this year, a study found that One Direction are the band that “inspire[s] the most enthusiasm and support from the gay community.” The YouGov report concluded that “liking One Direction is now the most stand-out feature of gay men’s music tastes.”
Earlier this year, MTV reported that One Direction fans raised over $16,000 for the London Gay And Lesbian Switchboard in honor of Harry Styles’ birthday. That fundraising effort was organised by One Direction fan Amy Flanagan under the banner of 1D Fans Give. As reported in Inquisitr earlier this week, with the support of One Direction fans across the world, 1D Fans Give has raised over $162,000 for charitable causes.
Harry Styles and his One Direction bandmates have long been supporters of LGBTQ causes. In August of last year, Harry appeared onstage wearing an NFL uniform carrying the name of Gay NFL star Michael Sam. During One Direction’s recent tour, Harry was frequently seen waving a rainbow flag onstage in a public display of support for LGBTQ fans.
Back in 2013, a group of One Direction fans conceived an idea to fight homophobia and cyberbullying and to support LGBTQ celebrities and fans.
Take Me Home From Narnia is a website run by One Direction fans which, after witnessing homophobic behavior at a One Direction gig, began a social media campaign to develop understanding and support of LBGTQ issues. As well as providing a safe space, Take Me Home From Narnia gave birth to an awareness campaign that became known as “Rainbow Direction.”
Rainbow Direction began to organize get-togethers and events at One Direction concerts around the world. During the 2014 One Direction tour, 65 out of 69 shows had a Rainbow Direction event of some sort. During the recent “On The Road Again” One Direction world tour, Rainbow Direction were represented at every single show.
Rainbow Direction has allowed One Direction fans from every walk of life, of whatever gender and sexuality or none, to come together to stand up against prejudice and discrimination in all of its insidious and damaging forms.
Earlier this week, it was reported in the Inquisitr that One Direction fans have grouped together to make a stand against cyberbullying. Rainbow Direction is a welcome and much-needed extension of that campaign.
Earlier this year, MTV caught up with Kat Lewis and Lou Woodley from Rainbow Direction and reported that the group was formed to show that there is nothing shameful in being LGBTQ. The issue came to the fore after Tom Parker, from the band The Wanted, attacked One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson in a series of homophobic tweets.
Like 1D Fans Give, Rainbow Direction has an online shop selling items in support of the project, and their profits and fundraising actions have supported a wide range of LBGTQ causes right across the globe.
It is perhaps worth noting that Rainbow Direction is anything but a reaction to the claims that Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles are a couple. In fact, they have a “no shipping” policy. They ask One Direction fans not to add any “shipping” text or images to their rainbow themed items.
It is perhaps both amusing and ironic that One Direction fans are portrayed as a bunch of band-obsessed 12-year-old girls who all dream of marrying Harry Styles. Rainbow Direction and other One Direction fandom initiatives show just how far from the truth this is.
Of course, many One Direction fans are young, but initiatives like Rainbow Direction demonstrate that One Direction fans are mature, intelligent, sophisticated, and socially aware.
[Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File]