If you’re like me, then you’re gay. And if you’re gay, you’ve probably been following the hype surrounding “Love, Simon.” But even if you aren’t lucky enough to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s likely that you’re aware of this 20th Century Fox film that had an $11.5 million opening week.
I went into this film with two things: my girlfriend and my expectations. It was a unique experience for me to enter into a movie theater holding the hand of another girl and to not feel wary. It’s rare that I feel totally safe when engaging in even the mildest forms of PDA in public, but in that theater I felt accepted – and that was before the movie even began.
“Love, Simon” delivered a compelling and entertaining classic high school love story complete with miscommunications, crushes, unrequited love and embarrassing cafeteria scenes. But, of course, what set it apart was the fact that it is the first film to be a wide, major-studio release centered on a gay teenager.
The film follows Simon, a closeted gay teen, as he comes to terms with his homosexuality and deals with his fears of coming out. He meets another gay teen from his high school on an anonymous online site, and the two quickly form a bond, despite not knowing each other’s identities.
The film resonated with me on a very personal level as I watched many of the struggles I faced as a closeted teen play out on the big screen. Everything from Googling “How to look gay,” to deeper issues of not wanting established relationships to be changed after coming out, are all things I have personally experienced.
Seeing parts of my story played out in mainstream media gave me a lot of hope. Coming out to my parents was not as easy as for me as it was for Simon, but the fact that this film normalizes coming out and presents a positive parental reaction showed me that times are rapidly changing.
I’m thrilled to see LGBTQ+ love stories getting more recognition in media, and I hope to see this trend continue. Hey 20th Century Fox – how about a lesbian rom-com next?