‘Stranger Things’ Fans Are Convinced That Will Byers Is Gay

And not just because of the haircuts.


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The long-awaited fourth season of Stranger Things has arrived and the question everyone is asking is, did they just confirm Will Byers is gay?

— Warning: Potential gay spoilers ahead. —

Okay, maybe not EVERYONE, but a hell of a lot of queer fans who have suspected Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is queer feel like the latest season of Stranger Things has all but confirmed it. And no, it’s not just about the bad haircuts.

In the past two of the four seasons of Stranger Things, viewers have got to know Will as a character. In seasons one and two, he was a little busy being missing, vanishing into the otherworldly Upside Down, and then promptly being possessed by a giant Demogorgon.

While many fans argue his queerness is subtextual during these events because he’s portrayed as sensitive and quiet, a kid just being quiet and sensitive isn’t necessarily queer. Who wouldn’t be quiet and sensitive after living through the kind of alienating, traumatising supernatural childhood that Will lived through?

In Season 3, we saw a Will Byers out of sync with his now hormone-driven friends. While Lucas, Mike and Dustin all chase after girlfriends, Will is disinterested and fails to appreciate why the boys are no longer as keen on their traditional D&D nights.

If there is a quintessential queer coming of age experience, it’s an inexplicable feeling of betrayal watching the straight friends you grew up with start dating and moving away. This culminates when a heartbroken Will confronts Mike about feeling left out and Mike, angry, replies, “it’s not my fault you don’t like girls!”

Now, in Season 4, viewers seem to be getting even more hints that Will has a crush on his seemingly straight bestie, Mike. Yet another harrowingly common experience for many a queer youth is developing a crush on your straight bestie that you nurse with fear, anxiety and downright frustration. Do you tell them and risk losing their friendship forever?

In Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown), opening narration, she tells Mike in a letter that Will is painting something for a girl he has a crush on. Yet we see Will turn away from a girl in class who attempts a game of footsie with him, and later we see Will taking the painting everywhere he goes with Mike.

Another fun potential easter egg that points to Will being gay is the science project we see him carrying in episode one. Will’s project is on Alan Turing, the famous code-breaking British mathematician who was prosecuted and chemically castrated by the British court for being gay.

In the latest season’s fifth episode, Will confides in Mike about how hard it can be to speak your truth, saying, “Sometimes I think it’s scary to just open up like that. To say how you really feel. Especially to people you care about the most. Because what if… what if they don’t like the truth?”

Sounds a bit fruity to me, even the heavily memed subtitles for the music during the scene in question seem to point to something other than Will just giving friendly advice.

So, is Will Byers gay? Going off what Stranger Things has dared to show us of Will’s personality outside of surviving Lovecraftian horror worlds, it’s not impossible. The show previously established that Robin (Maya Hawke) is a lesbian and devotes many gloriously gay scenes to her awkward interactions with girls she likes, and even a scene where she clarifies that she and Steve’s closeness is purely platonic.

Considering that Stranger Things takes place across the ’70s and ’80s, when the AIDS crisis was gripping the queer community, it’s not hard to see why he’s struggling to come out. Especially, considering he has very few friends to begin with, and was already labelled the town freak. It says a lot about homophobia that a kid who has fought other-worldly nightmares made real, and survived possession by a demonic being from another dimension, is scared to tell his bestie he likes him.

Stranger Things is currently streaming on Netflix.