It is time for us, as a society, to take action against the injustices that surround us and to make important changes for us to be able to live in a more secure and understanding world. After the Time’s Up movement, led by celebrities to raise awareness against sexual harassment and the March for Our Lives movement, led by fierce teenagers who are fighting to ban guns in the U.S, it was time for the LGBTQ+ community to come out and show our society the importance of representation in cinematography.
In March 16th 2018, the movie “Love, Simon” came out in movie theaters in Canada and the United States, a movie highly anticipated not only because it is yet another book adaptation but because this movie brings representation to the LGBTQ+ community, especially teenagers who want to be represented in media.
This movie is important and is now dear to so many people in the community and its supporters because it is one, if not the first, coming of age movie about a gay youth in which the focus of the movie is not directed towards the heaviness and difficulty of coming out. To elaborate on the subject, Paola Beatriz López Sauri, a supporter of the community and a bi-curious girl, accepted to share her opinions on the movie and its impact. Paola says ““Love, Simon” deals with Simon’s fear of coming out, it mostly focuses on his love story. I think the fact that, in taking overused movie tropes and resembling other romantic comedies that I have already seen but showing it from a different perspective, “Love, Simon” accepts the gay experience with open arms, making it very relatable and approachable.” Paola’s words are very meaningful because gay teenagers just want to see themselves represented on the big screen like everybody else. They want to be shown as people who happen to fall in love, who go to school and may live slightly embarrassing moments, who get to enjoy life and its pleasures in a positive way, without the angst and dramatic sadness that always seems to follow LGBTQ+ movies. There is nothing wrong with such movies because they do explore darker themes that are just as important but sometimes, people just want to enjoy a fun and touching movie without being reminded that they are still perceived as “outside of the norm” in society because they happen to have a different sexual orientation.
“Love, Simon” does not only bring comfort to the LGBTQ+ youth, this movie also speaks to older people, this movie explicitly demonstrates to them how our society is trying to have more progressive views on the subject of homosexuality. The movie comforts them by showing them an acceptance that was not necessarily present in past years, it shows them that it is okay to exhale now, because this movie is a safe place in which people of all ages can reunite and see a future free of discrimination.
Paola also shared how she thinks the movie speaks directly to family and friends, she declares “Since “Love, Simon” emphasizes on Simon’s relationship with his parents, I think it would be a great opportunity for families to watch this together – especially if a member of the family has just come out – and open their minds to someone else’s experience. This aspect is very important because, for a long time, the media has controlled and changed the way we see things, influencing our very beliefs and our perception of what is moral and what is not. By acknowledging homosexuality in a way that seems so trivial, after years of suffering from the community, this shows the public how useless it is to attack someone for such a reason. “Love, Simon” shows to the public that accepting gay rights is not a crime, gay people are valid and they deserve as much as anyone to be treated with respect and not be seen as weird or other more aggressive terms. This overly pure and funny movie makes parents understand that their children are not anomalies, being gay does not change anything about them or who they are, the only thing that truly changes is the perception they will choose to have of their kids when they come out.
Paola’s response to the question “why is straight the default” was something everyone should think about, she said “Just because being straight has been the default for centuries now does not mean that is should still be so. I also think that seeing straight as the default, forcing those that don’t fit the label to come out and reveal that they aren’t as everyone assumed they were, is very unhealthy. It puts a lot of pressure over them, a pressure that doesn’t apply to heterosexuals, which creates a big gap between the two groups, making it harder for us to grow past these benign differences.” Preach.
A lot of people have already seen the movie, members of the LGBTQ+ community, families, friends and curious citizens, the feedback has been particularly good and many praise the movie for its open-mind. Paola says that “People have really taken to this story and its characters and it’s very sweet to see. I have seen a great number of people that have written long posts about how Love, Simon has impacted them, and I cannot lie, some of them have brought me to tears”. Such positive reviews truly make us feel like we are growing as a society and although “Love, Simon” is not the best movie ever produced, it does bring hope that our society will become a secure place for people to live their true self. It also helps normalize something that should already be considered as normal because, as we say, Why is straight the default?