Today my husband and I went to see the new movie “Love, Simon”. I love reading YA novels and have always enjoyed teen movies as well, so I was excited to go see this one. I thought the premise of a teen hiding his gay sexuality from his friends, family, and school was a realistic one that likely has occurred many times in our culture. Perhaps it is getting easier to come out now than it was back when I was in high school or before that, but it is still hard for many young people to come clean about such an intimate and often maligned subject. Especially if you fear your family and friends will not accept you after the admission.
In “Love, Simon”, the main character (Simon, of course) DOES have supportive, open-minded family members and friends, but he is still afraid to come out of the closet. Perhaps this is because of the bullying he sees go on at school, pointed towards another kid who is openly gay. Or it could be that even though he knows his parents and friends will accept him, he just isn’t prepared for the social pressure and discomfort that often accompanies such a declaration. I think that even though Simon knows his family is loving and liberal, he may have a smidgen of doubt that his father would be happy, since he often makes jokes about girls with his only son.
I won’t ruin the whole plot for you, just know that there is a lot of friend drama, some blackmail, more than one romantic subplot, and a lot of the teen angst you would expect from a movie like this. The movie has a great sense of humor and addresses the subject of sexuality frankly and with many quips. I loved how Simon as a character was just your normal, average kind of guy, and not some kind of “gay stereotype” (other than Simon being in a school musical, but then again, many of the straight kids in the movie were in the musical too, so it didn’t seem to be meant as some sort of sexual stereotype).
Overall, the movie was sweet and uplifting. I saw my husband actually tear up at one point, but I rarely ever tear up at movies, so it didn’t do it for me this time either. It was definitely worth the time to see it though, and the teens seated all around me seemed to be in love with the movie.
The success of Idina Menzel’s version of the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s animated movie “Frozen” really didn’t surprise me at all. The first time I heard the song (the opening weekend of the movie), I fell in love. I have the soundtrack and like a lot of the songs, but “Let It Go” is just special. Some have claimed the song and movie are about homosexuality and the fight for LGBT acceptance. I don’t agree, although I can see how the song would be a great coming out song. In my opinion, the song could apply to a great many ways that we hide our ‘true’ selves for fear of rejection or hurt. So, although I am going to share the lyrics that really speak to me and why, do not feel like my connection to the song has to be yours.
“A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the queen.” – To me, this is about loneliness. I relate because I have often felt like I lived in isolation. Growing up with undiagnosed autism I often felt like I was somewhere off on the moon or in a world of my own. I wanted to include others. I wanted connection, but I was either afraid or didn’t know how to get it. I had friends, but even those relationships sometimes confounded me and left me utterly confused and alone. I’ve grown up and learned a lot, but it still isn’t easy to make connections with others at the level I would like to.
“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside, couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried.” – Who among us hasn’t felt overwhelmed by our emotions? It is human to sometimes feel crippled by fear, saddened by tragedy and betrayal, angry about injustice or like we have to claw our way up from the depths of despair. Often I have just wanted to scream because of all the hurt, rage, sadness and unfairness in this world.
“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” – To me this has definite religious affiliations. At times in my life I felt like I had to hide my true self to get approval and love from friends, family and the church. I had to pretend to be a “good girl” who never questions anything and believes blindly what I am told. I still feel like many wish I would just shut up and believe what they tell me is true, but I just can’t do that anymore.
“Well, now they know…” – Thank God! They know! I can be myself!
“Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go. Turn away and slam the door.” – Just keep going. Follow what in your heart you know is right. It is ok if not everyone understands or likes you. Sometimes you may have to burn bridges to the past in order to find new places to grow.
“I don’t care what they’re going to say…” – Ok, maybe I still care a little (after all I am still human), but I won’t let it rule me.
“It’s funny how some distance, makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all.” – Wow…so THIS is freedom. I can think what I want. I can do what I want. I can love who I want. I can finally get out from under all these rules and dogmas that had me confused and scared. I can get out there and actually help this world!
“It’s time to see what I can do. To test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free.” – Ok, there is still right and wrong, but I don’t have to take the word of other humans about what it is. I can find a place in this world where I really fit in and my talents can be used for good.
“I am one with the wind and sky. Let it go, let it go. You’ll never see me cry.” – I’m going to forgive those who hurt me, even if they don’t know or care that they did. I’m not going to live in bondage to anger and pain.
“Here I stand, and here I’ll stay. Let the storm rage on.” – I’ve made my decision. I’ve taken a stance for what I believe. I may face criticism, anger, mockery or even hate, but that is ok. Everyone who ever made a difference faced those things.
“I’m never going back, the past is in the past.” – Sometimes I get sad. Sometimes I miss the people who turned their backs on me. Sometimes I wish things could have been different, but I can’t go back. I can only go forward.
“Here I stand. In the light of day. Let the storm rage on…the cold never bothered me anyway.” – Hopefully I will inspire others to be true to themselves. To think about and evaluate their priorities and values. So yeah, the rejection may make me feel cold and alone at times, but compared to what I have gained…that is ok.
So I have seen a lot of stuff on social media and the news about the “Good Luck Charlie” episode on Disney Channel that introduced a gay couple. I watched the episode myself and thought it was handled well, without making too huge of a deal about the whole thing or getting too political or religious. The family wasn’t walking in a gay pride parade or out protesting gay rights. All that happened was that Charlie (played by Mia Talerico) happened to befriend a little girl who had “two mommies”. The lesbian couple comes over when their kid is having a play date with Charlie. Amy and Bob Duncan (Charlie’s parents) try to treat these parents like they would any other kid’s parents.
Well, after the show ended, I figured there would be a few people mad about it, but nothing like what happened. Christians banning Disney Channel in their home, extremist crazies sending death threats to the little girl who plays Charlie on the show, tv watchdogs jumping into the mix, etc. This is just ridiculous to me, especially those making threats against a poor, innocent five-year-old girl who had nothing to do with what they decide to put on the show or not put on the show. Although, even with those who are peacefully angry about the whole thing…I just don’t get it.
In today’s world, some kids do have openly gay parents. I know several gay couples personally who have kids and/or grandkids. Even back in the 90’s when he went to college, my husband shared a room with a kid for one semester who had a gay mom…and this was at a very conservative Christian college! So this does happen. Unless you tell your kids they are not allowed to befriend kids that may have gay parents (which to me seems prejudiced)…they may just end up doing that. You may find a kid in your home who does have gay parents, just like the Duncans did.
My question to those who are angry is…what did you expect the Duncans to do in the episode? What would have made you happy? If they slammed the door in the face of the lesbian parents? How about if they went on a rant about how the kid’s parents were going to end up burning in hell forever? Or maybe they should have just told the kid to go home, that “their type” was not welcome in their home? To me…that kind of unkindness and disrespect for one’s fellow humans is what would have made me lose my temper.