May 1, 2023
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By Brenda Sanchez Barrera, Editor-In-Chief

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Harry Styles got on stage for the final show of his Los Angeles residency, having completed 12 out of the 15 original nights scheduled at the Kia Forum. Though Styles rescheduled three shows due to health issues, he continued the tradition of providing a safe space where LBGTQ fans can openly be themselves.

Ever since the pop artist kicked off his previously postponed “Love On Tour” (LOT) tour last year, his concerts have become a safe haven for many fans who are a part of the LGBTQ community — myself included. 

For Caitlin Donida, a 25-year-old fan who identifies as bisexual, Styles’ concerts provides comfort because she can be her truest self. 

“I am not openly out to my family so being around my straight friends who accept me, and other queers in the room make [me] feel comfortable like I can be myself,” Donida said.

Last November, when I saw Styles for the first time, I was fortunate enough to find a general admission (GA) ticket, which meant that there was a (very slim) chance that Styles could make eye contact with me. The One Direction fan in me was both incredibly nervous and excited. I had held onto my ticket when Love On Tour was postponed in 2020 due to Covid, and once it was deemed safe to tour again, I impatiently waited until November 2021 to see him again. 

During that standstill, I kept up to date with the shows that Styles played by following update accounts on social media. Other fans, also called “Harries”, on Twitter would wait in anticipation for the moment he got on stage, eager to see what outfit he would be wearing for the night. The waiting game looked very similar this time around.

He made numerous stops in different countries in which he helped one individual come out during a show, and waved fans’ pride flags in several others. To this day, there are no words that can describe the warm, intense feeling of love that this action blossomed in the chest of the LGBTQ community. 

For me, a closeted (at the time) person who identifies as bisexual, the coming out videos circulating social media often brought me to tears. 

By the time my date rolled around, Nov. 17, 2021, I stood in the pit with a sign in one hand, a bisexual flag in the other, and very, very high hopes. “Help me come out, wave my flag” the sign read. 

The moment he came on stage, my original mission took a backseat. I was so entranced by Styles’ beauty and so overwhelmed with emotions, that I forgot that I went to the Kia Forum with the mission to get Styles to change my life forever. 

Most of the show went by quickly. The beat of “Sunflower, Vol. 6” was loud in my ribs, making every hair on my body stand. The deafening sounds of fans yelling louder whenever Styles came to our side of the stage made me just a little bit concerned for my hearing. My smile was hurting my cheeks. It felt like there were small zaps of electricity running through veins. I was in a daze. 

The beginning notes of “Lights Up” started up, and for a moment I froze. The song was known amongst LBGTQ Harries as a comfort song about figuring out who you are, and accepting yourself.

Traditionally, fans who brought their pride flags would hold their flags up high during “Lights Up.” I had a flag. It hid in the back of my closet for months before the concert, and I brought it with me that night. 

I thought that would be the highlight of my evening. Like many fans in the arena, I would live my existence loudly for the first time and be fully accepted. For four minutes and 14 seconds, I would know what it felt like to be understood and to be seen. 

I did not know what the rest of the night held for me. Styles stopped to talk to the fans again after “Lights Up.” It was time to read some signs, and suddenly I was so nervous, I wanted to throw up.

He came over to the side of the stage where I was at, and he began to look into the crowd for signs. Then, he pointed directly at me. “Are you ready? You want to do this?”

It took me a moment to register that Styles was speaking to me, but I screamed back, “Yes, please, yes.”

“What’s your name?”


Within a couple of minutes, Styles was running around the stage with my bisexual pride flag. Shortly after, he kneeled. Waving my flag above his head he said, “Rejoice Brenda! Freedom awaits you!” 

To this day, I struggle to find the words to describe what that moment meant for me. Strangers around me congratulated me and hugged me, and the warm feeling in my chest was overwhelming. Styles had just single-handedly changed my life. 

Although my experience with Styles is a more unique perspective, that doesn’t mean other fans don’t form a similarly strong connection to Styles by just attending his concerts or listening to his music. From his mantra: “Please feel free to be whoever it is you have always wanted to be in this room tonight,”  which he repeats at the start of every show, to his reassuring songs such as “Matilda” and “Lights Up,” fans often leave Styles’ concerts feeling protected and loved. 

CSUDH alumna Ashley Mitchell explained that she’s met some of her best friends at Styles’ concerts and described the environment as a place where “everyone is so kind and loving towards one another.” Mitchell believes that Styles’ mantra allows individuals to gain comfort in their own skin while being at the concerts or listening to the music. “[His mantra] allows you to feel free, [and] to be who you want to be,” she said.

Those who didn’t get a chance to see Styles this year will get another chance to see him next year, as Styles will return to the Kia Forum in January to complete the last three shows of his LA residency. 


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