Instagram: Joshua Bassett

Disney star Joshua Bassett has opened up about his sexuality and those comments on Harry Styles in a new interview.

Last month, Bassett left the internet reeling after complimenting British singer-songwriter Harry Styles for his “charming” personality.

In an interview with Clevver News, Bassett said: “I think he’s a nice guy, doesn’t say too much, but when he talks, it matters. He’s just cool.

“Who doesn’t think Harry Styles is cool? Also, he’s hot, you know? He’s very charming too.”

The 20-year-old then joked: “This is also my coming out video, I guess.”

Bassett’s rabid online fanbase took his offhand comment as official confirmation that he identifies as LGBTQ+, and came out in droves on Twitter to welcome him to the community.

Bassett released a powerful statement on Twitter shortly after in which he assured his followers that it’s “okay to still be figuring out who you are” and that he chooses love over hate.

“My entire life people have told me my sexuality,” the star wrote.

“People have shamed me for things they know nothing about. I want to say thank you to those of you who stand for love and acceptance. Toxicity, hatred, and negativity say less about the subject, but say for more about those who spew it.

“It’s 2021. We are the generation of love and growth, it’s time we start acting like it. Whether you love me, hate me, or damn me to hell, I love you all the same. Love who you love shamelessly. It’s okay to still be figuring out who you are.

“Life’s too short to let ignorance and hatred win. I choose love.”

In a new interview with GQ, the Lethal Weapon weapon star clarified his previous statement and the speculation around his sexuality.

“I stood behind every word that I said,” the star told GQ, referring to his Instagram post.

“Even if there are consequences, I would much rather deal with consequences and live my truth than live in fear.”

While the actor has opened up about his identity, he admitted he doesn’t enjoy the idea of people having to come out.

“I am anti–coming out in the sense that there’s no need to.” But, he adds, “People are welcome to have boxes if they want them.”

“There are plenty of letters in the alphabet… Why bother rushing to a conclusion? Sometimes your letter changes, sometimes you try a different one, other times you realize you’re not what you thought you were, or maybe you always knew. All of these can be true.

“I’m happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community because they embrace all. Don’t let anyone tell you love isn’t love. They’re the ones who probably need it the most.”

Bassett was catapulted to superstardom with his role as Ricky Bowen in High School Musical: The Series. The first season became a smash hit with viewers and critics, winning the GLAAD Media Award in 2020 for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series took a break last year due to COVID-19, but returned for season two on 14 May. The next episode debuts 25 June on Disney+.

Related: High School Musical star Joshua Bassett: “It’s ok to still be figuring out who you are”