Kind. Loving. Compassionate. Strong. Brave. Inspirational. Advocate.
These are words that come to mind when one thinks of Harry Styles. From the beginning of One Direction when Harry was shy and cared deeply about what others thought of him through his transition into a vibrant, confident, and powerful young man – he’s always shown a sense of true concern and a strong desire for the entire world to have a chance at happiness. Harry doesn’t just say that everyone deserves equality – he lives it.
I want you to do whatever makes you happiest in the world.
It’s impossible to be in the same room as Harry and not feel the desire to spread kindness, it’s equally as impossible to be in the same room as Harry and not feel a sense of appreciation for life. He’s the type of person who inspires other people to want to make the world a better place. In addition to the way he drives others to be the best versions of themselves, he also stands beside his fans in solidarity, regardless of who they are and what they believe in.
It’s been said, since One Direction was formed, that their bond with fans was something special – different than you see with other artists. Part of this deeper connection stems from the kind hearts of Harry, Louis, Liam, and Niall. In addition to spreading kindness, they’ve also given their fans a place to feel safe, and a place to call home.
Harry has, in many ways, fought for social change. Be it standing up for women’s rights, standing against violence, supporting the need for education, or recognizing the need for equality – he uses his circumstance to make a difference. During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, when you think of a person who’s stood up for basic human rights and equal love, Harry is one of the first names to come to mind.
From speaking out about the WBC and wearing a Michael Sam jersey on stage in support of the football player, to using his social media to bring awareness to the need for change and paying congratulations when small steps are made and even asking people to do what makes them happiest at One Direction concerts – Harry doesn’t miss an opportunity to let the world know how much equality means to him.
In 2015 when all marriage was made equal in the US, Harry used his Instagram to mark the important date in which change was made with a colorful post in a normally black and white profile. He tweeted in January of the same year a three-word statement that was then placed on bracelets that fans of One Direction could purchase and at their Cleveland, Ohio tour date, Harry wore one of the bracelets onstage himself.
I study rainbows.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) January 14, 2015
It was a simple but beautiful gesture that let fans know that Harry stood beside them, regardless of what type of love they embraced or what body housed the heart that matched their own. For Harry, the heart and spirit of a person matter much more than their sexuality.
While One Direction was touring, Harry didn’t just wear rainbows or pick up a rainbow flag and dance with it on certain dates, he made it a point during OTRA to speak out about love being love and embracing it with open arms. He spoke to thousands of people in attendance and even more than that on social media when he spoke about celebrating all love.
There are many instances where fans can pick out specific moments that Harry said something about equality and love and how important it is to be accepting, but the things that matter the most are the ways in which Harry inspires us to simply be happy in our existence. He knows that it takes a full and happy heart to be able to make change, and he knows we all have the capability to be the heart that starts a movement – how beautiful is it that he believes in his fans that much?
Harry reminds fans to be happy, to do what makes them happiest in this world. He says often that the only job that fans have is to enjoy themselves at a One Direction show or while listening to their music – he just wants the world to experience joy and happiness and he does what he can to make that happen.
If you ask fans of One Direction if they’ve felt inspired to be themselves because of the boys, they’d all say yes, and many of them would pay specific thanks to Harry.
In the last 5 years where we’ve seen him grow up in front of our eyes, Harry has done many inspiring things, but perhaps the most important thing we’ve seen blossom was within himself. It was finally seeing Harry grow into confidence and courage, into strength and his sense of self-worth. Fans of Harry can all agree that one of the hardest moments to date was seeing him break down in a video where he made a statement that every single person in this world can relate to – he said he just wanted to be the kind of person who didn’t care what other people thought of him, but unfortunately, he wasn’t.
Our hearts ached because we’ve felt that same emotion, we’ve wanted to be carefree and to be able to brush off negativity, but sometimes it’s hard – especially when the hate or prejudice we receive is because of things we cannot change.
Perhaps that’s why Harry is so loving, kind, and patient with fans of One Direction. Maybe his own past drives him to show the compassion he knows this world so desperately needs and he’s aware, just like most of us, that there is nothing we need more now, than equality and understanding.
So from rainbows and football jerseys to speeches on love and happiness, from kind eyes and a compassionate heart to the knowledge that love is all we need – Harry stands up for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults and he gives them a voice when their own is weak, he magnifies their voices when they’re strong and powerful, and he provides – even if just for a few hours a night – a safe place for fans to exist. There is nothing more worth idolizing than that.
Thank you, Harry, for proving that despite hate and discrimination, love wins…