It's Jeremie again. Last month I went to see the film 'Love Simon' which entails the story of a coming of age chapter for a young teen whose about to leave high school and goes through the journey of coming out and discovering who he is. Sounds like your typical cheesy teenage love story, huh? Wrong! This movie was much better than I expected it to be. 'Love Simon' was the movie I needed when I was a young, closeted kid who didn't even know he was gay and that every other gay kid needed when growing up! *Spoiler alert* the kid ends up happy! Why is this any news you ask? Well friends, here's the thing out of all of the LGBT movies I've seen in my 23 years of living as a gay male, I seriously can't recall more than maybe 3 movies that end happily. I'm not good at math or percentages, but I'll give you a number in my mind "straight" films make up a majority of the showings in theatres that come out every year let's make that 95%. Gay movies will be the other 4%... now a happy gay movie that accurately describes a coming out story somewhat as my own, like Love Simon, yeah friends that's 1%!
If you're not familiar with LGBTQ+ movies then you're probably thinking is this true? Yes! If you're looking for good quality gay films that don't end in death, cheating, or just a guy who is gay and won't leave his wife for his gay lover then you'll find very few. Then came along Love Simon. Just like Simon, many LGBTQ+ members before him have a discovery period where you can finally understand who you are. For me, it was the 8th grade and I finally found others who were just like me... or what I thought I was feeling on the inside. See growing up parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and even strangers force these straight relationships, feelings, and thoughts into you. They tell you things like "Isn't that girl so pretty?" or "Do you like this toy truck?". The one thing that's stopping kids from realizing they're true selves or instilling fear into them to express who or what they truly are, are those around them who do not allow them to even think differently. Ever since I can remember family members told me I couldn't be feminine, I couldn't put my hand on my hip or watch/play with "girly" things. Society has a way of trying to stick us into these black and white moulds. That's the thing this world is not black and white.
Simon had difficulties in coming out and expressing himself as a gay person. Just as we all do at first. See the world around us hasn't been set up to make us feel welcomed and definitely doesn't provide us with the motivation to come out. Eventually, instead of "coming out", Simon is "outed" by a classmate— one of the worst things that happens to this day in society. This is kind of bullying and torture that society puts kids, teens and adults through is what causes so much damage to these beautiful individuals. Thankfully in the movie, he has amazing peers and a very accepting family to assure him that he is loved no matter what gender he is into. Even I went through a hard time with my family and peers around me when I came out as a gay male. But knowing that my family still cared even if they didn't fully understand it was one of the best feelings that kept me holding on. It's one of the toughest, yet bravest things a person can do and having the support from those that you care about the most is one of the best feelings during this stage in your life.
Love Simon will give you all the feelings: sadness, anxiety, happiness and much more. You will not leave regretting you came to see this film. What I appreciate most about this film was the audience and diverse it was! I saw parents, young kids, elders, young adults and families. Mind you that I live in a conservative state and this was in a very conservative area of Memphis. The hope that was instilled in me from seeing the audience enjoying the film and accepting it was phenomenal. Finally, a film that brings communities together and can teach anyone that no matter if you're gay, trans, straight, black, Jewish, Latinx, or anything else that we are all the same one way or another. It's inevitable that we have a ways to go as a community, but this film showing in major and small cities across the country and knowing that diverse audiences are so accepting of it shows that we've come a far way from where we used to be. A film is a very minor thing when it comes to the lives of LGBTQ+, but if this film can be used to start conversations between people who aren't so understanding and accepting and the rest of us then I am all for it. Though not every story ends happily, this movie just like my life ends (or should I say 'continues') on a positive note. For those of you going through similar situations just know that it does get better and there are people out there that love you.
Spread love and knowledge. We could use more of it.