Fans of One Direction’s Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are renowned as the most passionate fans of our generation. Styles and Tomlinson are followed by tens of millions of fans on social media and woe-betide anyone who publicly disrespects the singers or their band. That said, one issue splits One Direction fans more than any other. In the early days of One Direction, it was clear that Styles and Tomlinson shared a special bond. Styles and Tomlinson were undoubtedly affectionate towards each other and from that obvious bond the legend of “Larry Stylinson” arose.
For those who have not followed One Direction’s career closely, “Larry Stylinson” is the name given to the much speculated relationship between Tomlinson and Styles. The speculation that Styles and Tomlinson are a couple is something that arouses strong passion from many One Direction fans.
Many One Direction fans, so-called “shippers,” believe passionately that “Larry is real” and present a huge body of evidence that show Tomlinson and Styles sharing that special bond. Those who believe that Styles and Tomlinson are simply bandmates and friends have an equally strong body of evidence that support their own beliefs.
Both sides of the Larry debate are passionate about their position. Larry shippers are convinced Tomlinson and Styles have been “closeted” by their management team to avoid damaging the One Direction brand, especially amongst their young female fans.
On the other side of the argument, Larry shippers are criticized for “forcing a sexuality” on Tomlinson and Styles. Whichever of the two dialogues are true, the legend of Larry has achieved a massively positive effect that is possibly overlooked. Styles, in particular, has always been a huge supporter gay causes and by discussing Larry fans have undoubtedly gained a much better understanding of LGBTQ issues.
For example the Telegraph reports this week that artist Owen G Parry has used Tomlinson and Styles relationship as the inspiration for his latest exhibition. Parry suggests that his art shows that Styles and Tomlinson have helped to normalize same-sex relationships and says that “he is a fan of Larry.”
“They’re just presenting the normal ideals of a relationship, but Harry Styles is pregnant… They get married, they have kids, but actually it’s really subversive.”
According to Bitbag, many Larry shippers believed that Tomlinson named his new-born son Freddie as a nod to famously gay star Freddie Mercury and as reference to a popular YouTube account, Freddieismyqueen. This YouTube account posts the most-watched video compilations of various “evidence” on Styles and Tomlinson’s alleged “secret relationship.”
Iconic British gay magazine Attitude reported last July that One Direction were officially named as Britain’s gayest musical act, and the theories that Tomlinson and Styles are a couple had much to do with their earning that moniker.
The statistics came from market research firm YouGov, and revealed that the among adults, One Direction is the musical act with the highest correlation to gay men in the U.K.
During One Direction’s recent tour, Styles frequently paraded a rainbow flag on stage in a gesture of support for LGBTQ fans. Styles has also been a supporter of London based LGBTQ helpline Switchboard.
Styles is famously enigmatic both on social media and in interview. Fans will doubtlessly remember the interview back in 2014 when Styles famously said that gender wasn’t important when it comes to a lover. The Independent reported that Styles and a bandmate were being interviewed when they were asked what they look for in a girl. Payne answered, “female, it’s a good trait.” Styles replied, “not that important.”
As previously reported by Inquisitr, during the recent tour, the Rainbow Bondage Bears made an appearance at numerous shows. Many fans are convinced that Tomlinson and Styles were behind the bears and were convinced that the bears were being used to send a message to fans of Larry. At one show, the bears were even dressed in wedding garb and had a photograph of gay star Larry Grayson at their feet in what surely must have been a comment on Larry.
Last night, fans became even more convinced that Styles and Tomlinson were behind the bears. Styles posted a playlist called “deleted” on streaming platform Spotify. The playlist contained numerous references to bears, rainbows and saying goodbye. Just minutes later, the Rainbow Bondage Bears Twitter account was deleted.
RBB'S TWITTER WAS DELETED AND RIGHT BEFORE THAT HARRY CREATED THIS PLAYLIST! WE'RE SO CLOSE!!!! pic.twitter.com/pmIWgI7dCL— Zaïnab (@darkcupcakehs) February 13, 2016
Whether or not Tomlinson and Styles are actually in a relationship is perhaps immaterial. What “Larry” has achieved is to raise an awareness about LGBTQ issues amongst One Direction’s fans across the world. Simply by discussing whether or not Tomlinson and Styles are in a relationship has raised awareness and helped people to understand that people identify with a range of sexualities and none.
Ongoing speculation about Styles and Tomlinson’s sexuality means that One Direction’s 100 million followers on social media have a greater awareness of gender and sexuality. By thinking about Tomlinson and Styles’ sexuality, One Direction fans have been enabled to critically think through some really important issues in an open-minded and non-judgemental way.
Set in that context, it matters not whether Tomlinson and Styles are in a relationship. The fact is that the discussion amongst tens of millions of people has arguably made “Larry Stylinson” the most important gay icon of our time. For that fact alone, fans of Styles and Tomlinson should be grateful no matter their own position of the Larry debate.
[Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]