Welcome to the fifteenth article in our Pride series for the month of June! Each day we will be highlighting a different LGBTQ+ character who we think is a great example of representation, dynamic characterization, and overall badassery. Check out the rest of the series here.
Some may say it is a coming out “fantasy,” and maybe it is. But Simon Spier’s illustration of what that great big coming out moment can be in the movie Love, Simon (based off of the book Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli) is just as important of a story as ones that depict a less desirable outcome.
Simon grew up in a nice, loving home knowing two things – first of all, that he is absolutely, 100% gay. And secondly, that the family and friends he surrounds himself with might be shocked but would ultimately accept his sexuality once he actually got around to telling them. The horrible reality is that there are many people that do not have the sort of situation that Simon finds himself in, and living their truth is often filled with significantly more strife and violence. And it is not as if Simon does not appreciate the privilege he lives within. But there is something to be said for that other thing that happens when you come out – suddenly, everyone thinks of you differently.
Picture this – every day of your entire life, you have worn a blue shirt. You knew that you could wear a different one, and everyone would be cool with it, but most people wear blue shirts, so you did not want to rock the boat. The moment you put the red one on, everyone sees you in a different light. It is a conscious decision to change your outward perception – and it is a scary step to take, even in the best of situations.
“Why is straight the default?” the movie asks, and it is a good question. From the time that we are born, all throughout our entire life, there is an underlying assumption (to varying degrees) that you will fall in love with someone of the opposite gender, until you announce otherwise. Ironically a lot of what is holding Simon back from being out is the perception of what it means to be gay in modern society. Even in the most accepting of places, there is a set of preconceived stereotypes about gay men that he does not really fall into. He is not crazy about rainbows. He is not going to march up and down the street in a parade. He is just Simon – he wears band t-shirts, enjoys late nights with friends and a good meme from time to time. Typical teenager in all senses of the word. The only difference between him and the next guy is that he is probably checking him out.
What is so important about Simon is that he is not what have seen as the “stereotypical gay teenaged dude,” which quite frankly is exactly the sort storytelling we need right now in media. People should be able to say whom they are attracted to without feeling like along with that clarification comes a secondary set of baggage and restrictions. What we see Simon eventually accept is that while being out might change people’s perceptions of him, that doesn’t mean that he has to change at all. He can be exactly the gay man he wants to be.
Love, Simon is out on Amazon Prime and iTunes now and if you haven’t watched it, you owe it to yourself to indulge in one of the cutest teenage romcom movies ever!
Do you have a character spotlight suggestion? Leave it in the comments down below!