Shawn Mendes is setting the record straight about his sexuality once again.
For years, the pop superstar has routinely faced speculation that he identifies as gay from fans and media outlets. Speaking with The Guardian Sunday, Mendes called the rumors “hurtful,” taking into account his repeated attempts to shut them down on social media and in interviews.
“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,” he said.
The “In My Blood” singer recalled a 2016 Snapchat story, in which he stated for the record, “First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or wasn’t.”
The fact that the speculation continues in spite of his remarks, Mendes told The Guardian, is harmful to his fans who identify as LGBTQ.
“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.”
The Guardian interview comes just months after a lengthy Rolling Stone profile that addressed the rumors about Mendes’ sexuality at length.
“I thought, ‘You fucking guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay and terrified of coming out,’” he told the magazine in November, after reading through various internet comments regarding his sexuality. “That’s something that kills people. That’s how sensitive it is. Do you like the songs? Do you like me? Who cares if I’m gay?”
He went on to note that he wasn’t proud to admit that he felt the need to be seen with women in public to “prove to people that I’m not gay” ever since the rumors began.
“Even though in my heart I know that it’s not a bad thing,” he said. “There’s still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me.”