Everyone is gay

Straight young men on the phầm mềm are posting suggestive sầu videos with their buddies. It’s not just about the views.

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Foster Van Lear, a 16-year-old TikTok personality from Atlanta, has posted videos of himself kissing guy friends on the cheek. “Everyone is fluid & so men have sầu become less hesitant about physical stuff,” he said.Credit...Devin Oktar Yalkin for The New York Times

Connor Robinson, a 17-year-old British TikTok star with rosy cheeks & a budding six-paông chồng, has built a large following by keeping his fans thirsty. Between the daily drip of shirtless dance routines và skits about his floppy hair, Mr. Robinson posts sexually suggestive sầu curve balls that, he said, “break some barriers.”

In an eight-second video clip mix khổng lồ a lewd hip-hop traông chồng by the Weeknd, he and a fellow teenage boy, Elijah Finney, who calls himself Elijah Elliot, filmed themselves in a London hotel room, grinding against each other as if they’re about lớn engage in a passionate make-out session. The video ends with Mr. Robinson pushed against the tiled wall.

But as racy as the đoạn phim is, fans are under no pretense that the two are in the throes of gay puppy love sầu. Mr. Robinson & Mr. Finney identify as heterosexual, but as some TikTok influencers have sầu discovered, man-on-man action is a surefire way lớn generate traffic. Uploaded in February, the đoạn phim has gotten more than 2.2 million views và 31,000 comments (lots of fire và heart emojis).


“Normally, I bởi jokey dance videos và stuff lượt thích that, but it seems like things have kind of changed now,” Mr. Robinson said from his bedroom in Cumbria, Engl&, which is painted forest green to lớn stand out on TikTok. He estimates that 90 percent of his nearly one million followers are female. “Girls are attracted to lớn two attractive guy TikTokers with massive followings showing a sexual side with each other,” he said.


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Connor Robinson, left, a British TikTok star, posted this racy đoạn phim with Elijah Elliot on his feed in February.
Gay and bi-curious male followers are welcome, too. “If watching my videos makes you happy và stuff, that’s cool,” he added.

As devotees of TikTok’s young male stars know, Mr. Robinson’s hotel seduction video is veering toward becoming a modern-day cliché. The youth-oriented social truyền thông platkhung is rife with videos showing ostensibly heterosexual young men spooning in cuddle-puddle formation, cruising each other on the street while walking with their girlfriends, sharing a bed, going in for a kiss, admiring each other’s chiseled physiques và engaging in countless other homoerotic situations served up for humor và, ultimately, views.

Feigning gay as a form of clickbait is not limited to lớn small-fry TikTok creators trying lớn grow their audience. Just look at the hard-partying Sway Boys, who made national headlines this summer for throwing raucous get-togethers at their 7,800-square-foot Bel Air estate in violation of Los Angeles’s coronavi khuẩn guidelines.

Scrolling through the TikTok feeds of the group’s physically buff members can feel as if you’re witnessing what would happen if the boys of Tiger Beat spent an uninhibited summer in Fire Islvà Pines. There is a barrage of sweaty half-naked workouts, penis jokes, playful kisses & lollipop sharing.


The TikTok star Josh Richards, 18, left, has posted several videos with his so-called boyfriends.Credit...Jake Michaels for The New York Times

Josh Richards, 18, one of the group’s breakout stars, has posted videos of himself dropping his towel in front of his “boyfriends” Jaden Hossler & Bryce Hall; pretending to loông chồng lips with another buddy, Anthony Reeves; and giving his roommate, Griffin Johnson, a peông xã on the forehead for the amusement of his 22 million followers.

It certainly hasn’t hurt his brvà. In May, Mr. Richards announced he was leaving the Sway Boys và joining one of TikTok’s rival apps, Triller, as its chief strategy officer. He also hosts two new popular podcasts — “The Rundown” with Noah Beông chồng và “BFFs” with Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports — và is the first recording artist signed khổng lồ TalentX Records, a label formed by Warner Records và TalentX Entertainment, a social truyền thông media agency.

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“These boys feel lượt thích a sign of the times,” said Mel Ottenberg, the creative sầu director of Interview magazine, which featured some of the Sway Boys in their underwear for its September issue. “There doesn’t seem to lớn be any fear about, ‘If I’m too cthảm bại to my friend in this picture, are people going to think I am gay?’ They’re too hot & young to lớn be bothered with any of that.”

Fun lớn Be ‘Gay’

As recently as a decade ago, an intimate touch between two young men might have spelled social suicide. But for Gen Z, who grew up in a time when same-sex marriage was never illegal, being called “gay” is not the insult it once was.

Young men on TikTok feel không lấy phí to push the envelope of homosocial behavior “because they’ve sầu emerged in an era of declining cultural homophobia, even if they don’t recognize it as such,” said Eric Anderson, a professor of masculinity studies at the University of Winchester in England.


By embracing a “softer” side of manliness, they are rebelling against what Mr. Anderson called “the anti-gay, anti-feminine model attributed to the youth cultures of previous generations.”

Mark McCormaông xã, a sociologist at the University of Roehampton in London who studies the sexual behavior of young men, thinks that declining homophobia is only one aspect. He believes that many of these TikTok influencers are not having fun at the expense of queer identity. Rather, they are parodying the notion that “someone would even be uncomfortable with them toying with the idea of being gay at all.”

In other words, pretending to be gay is a size of adolescent rebellion và nonconformity, a way for these young straight men khổng lồ broadcast how their generation is different from their parents’, or even millennials before them.


Foster Van Lear, a 16-year-old high school student from Atlanta with 500,000 followers, said videos showing him kissing a guy on the cheek or confessing feelings for his “bro” make hyên ổn look cool and dialed-in.

“In the new generation everyone is fluid and so men have sầu become less hesitant about physical stuff or showing emotions,” he said. “It would seem ridiculous if you were not OK with it.”


As a matter of fact, his father has called his videos “really weird” và “gay.” His mother was also taken abaông chồng by his public displays of affection with male friends, but now appreciates the pressure that high school boys are under lớn stvà out.

“If you are just straight-up straight now, it’s not very interesting to these kids,” said his mother, Virginia Van Lear, 50, a general contractor. “If you are straight, you want khổng lồ throw something out there that makes people go, ‘But, he is, right?’ It’s more individual và captures your attention.”


Mr. Van Lear said that his videos make him look cool. “If you are just straight-up straight now, it’s not very interesting to these kids,” his mother, Virginia Van Lear, said.Credit...Devin Oktar Yalkin for The Thành Phố New York Times

Parents are not the only ones perplexed; these videos confound some older gay men, too.

Ms. Van Lear said that one of her gay male friends came across a TikTok Clip in which her son joked about a man crush & told her: “You know, if Foster ever wants to lớn talk lớn me if he’s gay …” She had a good laugh. “People of my generation don’t get these boys are straight,” she said. “It’s a whole new world out there.”

Meet the ‘Homiesexuals’

But there’s no confusion among muốn the mostly teenage fans who can’t seem khổng lồ get enough of these gay-for-views videos.

Whenever Mr. Robinson posts videos of himself getting physical with another male friover, he is deluged with feverish comments like “Am I the only one who thought that was hot”; “I dropped my phone”; “OMG, like I can’t stop watching.”


Ercan Boyraz, the head of influencer management at Yoke Network, a social truyền thông media marketing agency in London, said that the vast majority of the commenters are female. And rather than feeling threatened or confused by guys who are being playful with other guys, they find it sexy.

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“Straight guys have sầu always been attracted lớn girls being flirtatious with each other,” said Mr. Boyraz, who has worked with Mr. Robinson. “Girls are just taking the same idea và switching it around.”

Hotline it equal opportunity objectification.


aaronsee_

We’re not gay, we’re homiesexuals