Love Simon’s Impact on LGBT Youth

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Love Simon’s Impact on LGBT Youth

by Michelle Trajtman, Reporter

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Love Simon had everyone counting down the days for its release and it definitely exceeded all the expectations. This movie featured controversial topics that are still big in our society, that are starting to become more accepted than they had been before. With a lead character who is not only gay, but African American and Jewish, this movie was breaking through not only social barriers but the entire business of Hollywood representation. Usually minorities, like being gay or Jewish, are underrepresented and forced to make due with stereotypical portrayals.

The phenomenal acting is what made it seem so relatable and true to life, and for some, that’s exactly what it felt like. This is a movie that gives the LGBT community something to relate to, something large film producers have never accomplished before.. Love Simon represents the progress we as a society continue to make; making this the movie of our generation.

Simon, played by Nick Robinson, is a normal teenager surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends. The film makes it especially important to remember one thing, that he’s “just like you”.

Ditching the stereotype of a gay character who is highly fashionable, extremely quirky, and an aspiring fashion designer; director Greg Berlanti makes Simon indistinguishable from any other male teenager in the movie, like in real life. The one secret Simon struggles with throughout the movie is his sexuality and the fact that no one knows he’s gay. After a student from his high school comes out anonymously on a website, he reaches out to him. Both of them anonymous to one another build a strong friendship, eventually leading to them falling in love.

Simon is incredibly lucky to be brought up in a home with supportive parents who are accepting of him. Unfortunately, it’s not like that for everyone, coming out is a struggle the LGBT community has to face when accepting their sexuality, and Love Simon did a great job of portraying that accurately.

“I know for me coming out was a little nerve-wracking. I’ve always been surrounded by friends and family who are so accepting, as was Simon, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. Coming out means that it’s permanent and for someone who is confused about their sexuality, it scares them,” explains Dwight Jones, Palo senior and member of the LGBT community.

Everyone has different experiences when coming out but they all fear not being accepted. We all hear about how difficult it is, but no one really understands until you are the one in that position. Love Simon made it easier for allies of the community to see really just how difficult coming out is and how it can affect not only the lives of people around you but the life of the one coming out. One particularly tear-jerking part was when Jennifer Garner, who plays Simon’s mother, shared an emotional speech with her son.

“You get to exhale now Simon. You get to be more you than you have been in a very long time.”.

This particular scene touched viewers beyond the screen and played an important role in how it moved the audience. It focused on how Simon felt after coming out; how he could finally be himself without hiding from anyone. It was nothing compared to the usual coming out scene, with the “I still love you’s” and the “everything will be okay” while the parents bawl. It portrayed a mother who cared about how her son felt after coming out, not how she felt.

Although there are many things that stand out, one particular aspect that stood out was how it’s evident that Simon is struggling with coming out;  he’s not struggling with himself on accepting who he is, but how to express who he is to those closest to him. He struggles because he doesn’t know how to tell the people he loves because it’s a nerve-wracking thing to do.

This covers an untouched aspect of being LGBT that hasn’t been seen too often on the silver screen at a scale like this.  This portrayal of Simon being okay with who himself is important for everyone to see.

“I think LGBT youth will see this movie and realize they are valid and worthy. We go through such internal and external battles every day as LGBT kids and I know if I had a movie like this when I was struggling with my sexuality, it would’ve helped me come out sooner,” says Emilee Luong, Palo Verde sophomore.

This movie has overall had a tremendous impact. It has proved to be an important movie for our generation that’s becoming more accepting and understanding. Love Simon has inspired teens to come out to their loved ones, showing just how impactful this film was.

“I think it’s a big leap for LGBT youth, showing that even if you truly believe that everyone will look at you differently or not support you, that could not be the case. Odds are most people you’re surrounded by would be totally accepting and the movie showed that. This could spark some more people being confident in coming out,” says Dwight Jones, Palo Verde student.

Although this film was the first LGBT movie targeted for a young audience, hopefully, it won’t be the last. With a generation progressing to be more accepting, we can’t let it stop here. Let’s make this film the first of many that will continue to inspire and teach.

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