Bad Bunny is calling out criticisms of his personal style that he characterizes as “sexist and homophobic.”
The Puerto Rican hitmaker, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, is on the cover of the October issue of Vanity Fair, and in the accompanying feature profile, he addresses accusations of “queerbaiting.”
But a same-sex kiss wasn’t the only LGBTQ moment at the VMAs this year.
An outspoken LGBTQ+ ally, Bad Bunny has condemned the 2020 murder of Alexa Negrón Luciano, a Puerto Rican trans woman, and performed in drag in the video for his 2020 single “Yo Perreo Sola.” He’s also hinted that his sexuality might be fluid, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2020, “At the end of the day, I don’t know if in 20 years I will like a man. One never knows in life. But at the moment I am heterosexual and I like women.”
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Earlier this year, GLAAD honored Bad Bunny with the organization’s Vanguard Awards at the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Out singer Ricky Martin has described him as “an icon for the Latin queer community.”
But the artist has also been dogged by accusations of queerbaiting, most recently following his performance at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, during which he kissed a male backup dancer. In recent years, the term has been applied to celebrities who imply that they might be queer in order to appeal to an LGBTQ+ audience, enjoying the benefits of queer culture and style while not facing the same discrimination that actual out performers do.
But as Bad Bunny tells Vanity Fair, he has also faced anti-LGBTQ+ hate.
“I get an endless number of negative comments and sexist and homophobic ones, without being homosexual, for dressing like that,” he says of his wardrobe. “Maybe the queer person suffers more, but it is not like I put on a skirt and go out and they say, ‘Look, how cool.’ They’re going to attack me with all their force anyway.”
Bad Bunny has spoken in the past about what Vanity Fair calls his “penchant for feminine fashion.”
“It depends on my state of mind,” he told GQ last year. “Everybody has to feel comfortable with what they are and how they feel. Like, what defines a man, what defines being masculine, what defines being feminine? I really can’t give clothes gender.”
He echoed those comments in the new Vanity Fair profile: “You don’t know the reasons why a person is wearing that. You weren’t in his mind when he decided to put on a skirt or a blouse. You don’t know what’s inside him, what’s in his heart,” he said. “You do it because you want to and it makes you feel good and it makes you feel happy.”