One thing has been persistent throughout Shawn Mendes' six-year career. From his Vine days and the Handwritten era to today, speculation about the singer's sexuality has loomed over him.
Though Mendes has consistently confirmed that he's straight, millions of social media users--including plenty of members of the Mendes Army--have speculated about Shawn's sexual orientation.
The constant rumors led to a story now considered infamous for stans of the singer published by Rolling Stone, in which the two-time Grammy nominee said he feels pressure to go out of his way and be seen with women to, "prove to people I'm not gay."
"Even though in my heart I know that it’s not a bad thing," Mendes said. "There’s still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me.”
Mendes' comments received a mixed response, as many supporters defended him and called on other fans to stop the speculation about his sexual orientation. But some members of the LGBTQ community, however, believed Mendes' fear of being labeled gay was problematic.
Now, for the first time since last year, the singer is once again commenting on the rumors.
“For me it’s hurtful,” Mendes told The Guardian in a story published last weekend. “I get mad when people assume things about me because I imagine the people who don’t have the support system I have and how that must affect them.”
Shawn emphasized that his anger over all of the gossip has a lot to do with protecting closeted LGBTQ people, not just himself.
“That was why I was so angry, and you can see I still get riled up because I don’t think people understand that when you come at me about something that’s stupid you hurt so many other people," he said. "They might not be speaking, but they’re listening.”
Nearly every male pop singer has had to deal with the rumors about their sexual orientations. From Justin Bieber to Bruno Mars, men in the industry, unfortunately, will always face the silly speculation because of the perceived femininity of the pop genre.
However, that's no excuse for people perpetuating the rumors. Hopefully, Shawn won't change his body language and the way he goes about life because of the online trolls.