Kit Connor has said seeing so many proud queer scenes during the hit Netflix series Heartstopper was “empowering”.
The 18-year-old actor stars as Nick Nelson in the coming-of-age drama series, which sees his character meet Charlie Spring at school and fall in love.
It was recently announced that the LGBTQ+ series, based on the popular graphic novels by Alice Oseman, has been renewed for seasons two and three.
Speaking on the Reign With Josh Smith podcast, Connor said: “I think that the nature of seeing so many queer people so proud to be themselves is one of the most honestly empowering things.”
The actor recalled a scene when the characters Tara and Darcy kiss in front of everyone at a party as he watches on from afar.
He explained: “The whole idea is that it’s Nick’s first time seeing queer people being happy, in front of other people and it’s his own queer representation I suppose, in real life.
“And he sees that and it’s just like this feeling and for me, honestly, when I saw that in real life, it was just one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever seen, you know with the lights and it was just as the crowds parted.
“It was honestly so cinematic in the show, but it was almost more cinematic in real life. It was such a spectacle and I think that’s a perfect example of seeing just the beauty and pride of queerness.
“I think that’s enough to give anyone confidence to be themselves, it was wonderful.”
Connor noted that he is “perfectly confident and comfortable” with his sexuality but does not feel the need to put a label on himself publicly.
He revealed that people on social media have been speculating and making assumptions about his sexuality, which he feels is odd.
“It’s 2022, it feels a bit strange to make assumptions about a person’s sexuality just based on hearing their voice or seeing their appearance”, he said.
“I feel like that’s a very interesting, slightly problematic sort of assumption to make.”
Connor’s character Nick is a popular rugby player at Truham Grammar School, which he notes leads people to expect him to be “stereotypically masculine” and “testosterone fuelled”.
He said: “I think masculine is sort of an interesting word because it has at times very old-fashioned connotations.
“I think with Nick and what I would associate with masculinity is a general strength of character and I think bravery and that kind of sense of perseverance.
“I think that Nick throughout the show becomes more sure of himself and sure of who he is and comfortable with himself which allows him that final moment on the rugby pitch at sports
“I think it’s the culmination of him really accepting who he is and loving who he is and showing the world who he is and I think that’s about as strong and brave as you can be.”
After Heartstopper launched on the streaming service in April, it developed a huge fan base and reached the Netflix top 10 list in 54 countries.
Oseman will return as writer and creator for the upcoming series, with Connor reprising his role as Nick and Joe Locke returning to play Charlie.