For some months now rumors have been circulating that One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles have had a massive fall-out. Fans of Styles and Tomlinson were furious back in October, 2015, when the Sun’s Dan Wootton claimed that One Direction’s hiatus was the result of animosity between Tomlinson and Styles. Since that article was printed, Tomlinson has become something of a hate figure in some sections of the media, whilst Styles has broken from One Direction’s management and PR teams.
The Sun article also upset a lot of One Direction fans because Wootton used the article to pour scorn on the most passionately believed and divisive part of the One Direction fandom. The subject of Wootton’s scorn are those One Direction fans who believe in “Larry Stylinson.” For the uninitiated, “Larry” is the fictional name given to the relationship between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
Many One Direction fans believe that Styles and Tomlinson are a couple, some even believe that they may have married. Wootton dismissively says that rumors that Styles and Tomlinson are a couple are “laughable.” Over the weekend an article claiming that “Larry” was like a creepy uncle that had affected Tomlinson’s relationship with his baby son. It has been widely reported that some fans believe that Tomlinson’s baby is a PR stunt designed to keep Tomlinson closeted. As Advocate reported, big stars living and dying in the closet is far from unusual.
Popcrush recently said “Larry Stylinson conspiracy theories live on — and grow more ridiculous with each passing day.” What is intriguing is that those fans who believe that Tomlinson and Styles either are or were a couple are branded deluded, insane, or obsessional. Additionally, they are typically written off by a misogynist press as “silly 12-year-old girls.” Check out the tone of the recent article in Heatworld which indicates that any One Direction fan who believes that Styles and Tomlinson are a couple are deranged and ridiculous.
The thing is that those who seek to discredit and belittle “Larry Shippers” totally miss the point. The reality is that no one other that Styles and Tomlinson knows the absolute truth about their relationship. It can be argued that whether or not Styles and Tomlinson have ever been in a relationship is now immaterial. It is a fact that, whatever the truth about Tomlinson and Styles sexuality, “Larry” has afforded hundreds of millions of young people the opportunity to think about sexuality.
Whether One Direction fans believe Tomlinson and Styles are gay or not they have witnessed the boys celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage, they have seen Styles wave the rainbow flag on-stage and support LGBTQ+ charities. Through their love of Styles and Tomlinson, many One Direction fans have come to realise the struggles that many face as a result of discrimination or worse.
Many fans have followed in the footsteps of Tomlinson and Styles by organizing fan projects raising cash for causes favoured by the members of One Direction. Directly or indirectly discussion about Styles, Tomlinson, and “Larry” has given birth to award-winning fan projects like One Direction NDA [No Drama Allowed] and Rainbow Direction. Amongst their many accomplishments, these fan led groups have created safe spaces on the internet for One Direction fans regardless of age, race, creed, religion, or sexuality.
No one should be subjected to hate because of who they are or how they live their lives. Some sections of the media delight in belittling One Direction fans because they are stereotyped as young and female. Some would have you believe that this does not entitle you to hold opinions or beliefs. Tomlinson and Styles have taught many of their fans to be open minded and tolerant and the impact of that should not be underestimated. One Direction have countless millions of fans across the world and the growth of social media has allowed fans of Tomlinson and Styles from across the world to be united by a common cause. That can only be a good thing.
Of course it would be churlish to claim that all of Tomlinson and Styles’ fans are happy about “Larry.” They most certainly are not, there are many who totally dismiss the idea and they a vociferous in defending their own views. Some are adamant that “Larries” are in some way forcing a sexuality on Tomlinson and Styles. Others claim that Tomlinson and Styles are entitled to privacy, and that no one is entitled to discuss another’s sexuality or relationships publicly.
One thing that everyone can agree on is that whatever the state of Styles relationship with Tomlinson all sides of the discussion deserve to be treated with respect.
Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson still ‘not talking to each other’ throwing 1D reunion hopes into chaos https://t.co/mwWoS7BZQP— Metro (@MetroUK) May 2, 2016
Ironically, that take us back to where we began, to the Sun and the relationship between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. It is claimed the Sun that Styles and Tomlinson are not even on speaking terms, and that the total breakdown of their relationship will mean that One Direction will not reunite.
The media and the fans have their own ideas about Styles and Tomlinson, everyone should be free to express their ideas, thoughts and theories without being attacked for doing so. When you express your views everyone should remember that others will hold opposing views. The world would be a much better place if we all treated each other with dignity, tolerance, and above all: respect.
[Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]