Leave Hayley Alone

The trans Hayley Williams discourse, explained

Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, has reminded us time and time again that she’s straight. Just a few weeks ago, she wished the crowd at Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour a happy Pride, singing, “I love all my gays. I wish I was one of you!” Last summer, she said she was “tragically a straight woman” while reacting to her past hairstyles. It all adds up to a straight woman who adores her queer fanbase — but after a few recent fashion choices, some folks are starting to reconsider.

While opening at the Eras Tour, Williams rocked two looks that raised fans’ eyebrows: first, a pin with the words “QUEER BOY” on it.

And second, a crop top with the trans flag across the chest.

What do these fashion choices mean? Williams has always been an outspoken ally to queer folks, so her wearing queer symbols could simply be a sign of her support for LGBTQ+ rights. But some folks took their speculation one step further, suggesting that the looks are her way of gearing up to come out of the closet as trans or genderqueer.

But longtime Paramore fans stepped in to point out why speculating on someone’s gender identity is never the move. 

“How many times does she have to state she’s straight and uses she/her pronouns? You’re not being inclusive, you’re just being weird. She’s an ally,” one user wrote. “Until stated otherwise, we should not assume. Doing the opposite and forcing her into being something she’s not or she’s not ready to share is not nice. Just let her be without being weird.”

All that’s not to say that if Williams were queer, it wouldn’t be welcomed by her fans. But with topics as personal as sexuality and gender identity, everyone has the right to come out in their own time and on their own terms. Speculation does a lot more harm than good, so for now, we should take Williams’ outfits for exactly what they were: fabulous fashion statements.

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