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Love, Simon is the Positive Representation All LGBTQ+ Teens Deserve

Credit%3A+20th+Century+Fox
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Meleah York, Assistant Editor

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Films that feature LGBTQ+ characters or situations are rare. More often than not, gay culture is pushed into the background as a minor secondary plot line or briefly mentioned at the expense of a stereotypical joke. For the last few decades, LGBTQ+ short films have been the only things to go off of, in terms of relating to characters through a story or experience. But Love, Simon is the first mainstream media LGBTQ+ film presence that not only presents a heartfelt and painstakingly relatable coming out story, but it shows that gay culture isn’t defined by promiscuity and hyper-sexualized themes.

Based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon is about a high school senior named Simon, who has a normal family, a normal life, a solid group of friends, but one big secret: he’s gay. Right off the bat this movie becomes relatable to LGBTQ+ teens everywhere, having a seemingly normal way of life but holding in an important aspect of who they are. Granted, it’s clear that his family is supportive from the very beginning, but Simon’s biggest struggle is not wanting to be seen as different just because he’s attracted to guys. He doesn’t want his normal way of life to change, but feels as if he is suffocating by hiding who he is. When an anonymous person at Simon’s school, simply called “Blue,” admits that he is gay, Simon reaches out to him through email, and tries to figure out who he is. At the same time, a guy named Martin is blackmailing Simon, threatening to out him, because he wants to date one of Simon’s friends, Abby.  

The movie is directed at teens, presenting a love story involving modernized technology aspects, which makes the experience more real to what modern-day coming out is like. Simon faces both external and internal hardships, but makes some mistakes along the way, learning that in the end his friends and family will always be there to support him. It’s a beautifully uplifting film, and one of the most poignant scenes to me was a conversation Simon had with his mother a few days after he came out to them. She explained to him that she noticed how after living a carefree childhood he had been holding back, and now he was free to exhale. Although Simon’s parents do not represent parents of LGBTQ+ teens everywhere, their responses bring a sense of hope for the future, as it all boils down to loving your child for who they are.

Aside from the whole coming out plotline, what I loved about this movie was how it just seemed like a normal teen film. It wasn’t making an overwhelming deal of there being a gay main character, even in the trailers. It was about capturing an experience and bringing it into the mainstream, because it’s relatable to teens everywhere.

Additionally, while Simon himself is a white male, the majority of the characters are people of color, including LGBTQ+ people of color, a large minority that lacks its deserved representation. Love, Simon doesn’t shy away from the issue of race, and while we have yet to see a mainstream film showcasing a queer person of color, any headway made is good headway, and it can only make room for bigger and better things.

Probably the most important aspect of the film as a whole is what it means to people that a movie like this exists. What capitalized about this movie experience for me was what it means to older people in the LGBTQ+ community. The first time I saw the movie, an older lesbian couple proudly sat together in the front row, excited to see this representation after decades of being attacked and ridiculed for loving who they want to love. As teenagers, they never imagined a film like Love, Simon would actually be in the mainstream media, and shown in a theater, nonetheless.

Lastly, if you have a supportive family and identify as LGBTQ+, I highly recommend seeing this movie with them. My parents and brother took me to see this movie on my two-year anniversary of coming out to them, and the conversations and insight that Love, Simon opened up was incredible. It was amazing to have them see this movie and understand the struggle of LGBTQ+ teens more than they did before, and it made both myself and my family emotional. Although there might be some awkward teen movie moments (obviously), this is definitely something worth seeing with those who love and accept you for who you are.

Love, Simon is the first of its kind to break the norm of heterosexuality in the media on a large scale. Supporting movies like this is important so that they can have money to produce more just like it! The film will “come out” on DVD in June of 2018.

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Love, Simon is the Positive Representation All LGBTQ+ Teens Deserve