So apparently there is this new film called *Love, Simon* that is like a gay take on the genre of romantic teen comedies. The male lead is a gay teenager who falls in love with another gay teenager in spite of the usual obstacles, like homophobic bullying, being closeted to parents, etc. When I heard about it (I haven’t seen it) my first thought was that I’m happy for young gay guys who get to grow up in a world where films like this are made and not just daydreamed about by young gay guys. It would have made such a difference in my own life had I grown up watching films like this as a teenager.

Then I came across a [review]( of the film by Time magazine’s Daniel D’Addario who acknowledges that it is a milestone in gay cinema but also blasts its portrayal of a gay young man as… well, a gay young man. The world has changed, D’Addario writes, and young gay men “don’t need” movies like this anymore. Instead, young people need movies about young people who “boldly reinvent gender and sexual identity.” I knew right away what he was getting at. He would have wanted the film to be about young people of indeterminate gender and/or sexual identity, according to the fashion of the day, and not about two young gay guys who are quite clearly just two young gay guys.

So what do you as gay men think about this supposed shift in attitudes about gender and sexuality among the so-called “gender-fluid” generation? Someone reacted to the above review by saying, “Can’t we have anything that is gay anymore?” That is a question I’ve found myself asking with increasing frequency over the past few years.


  1. people have been slamming this review since it came out… It’s a stupid take cause we still have plenty of ground to cover on acceptance and representation. I can understand and agree it’s time for more representation for genderfluidity and -identities, but that doesn’t make films like these unnecessary or unimportant. Especially the title just makes me eyeroll.

  2. I think the film is important, even if the young people of today don’t need this film, I need this film. I didn’t get to have this at that age. Also, sure, there is a huge shift in how young people view gender and sexuality, but that isn’t true everywhere, there are most certainly communities where coming out is still taboo. The writer of the review likely lives somewhere like New York or Los Angeles, where it’s easy to forget that communities outside of the city haven’t necessarily progressed socially as much as in the city.

  3. i believe… making movies about gender fluid ppl isnawesom…however, judging a gay movie for not being about a trendy topic is plain ignorant.

    Movie making and movie watching is nit about a trendy topic…is about conveying a message…so fuck that critic!!!

  4. Daniel D’Addario is right that “the first mainstream teen comedy foregrounding a gay character may have been outpaced by real life”. Gay men in many western countries have mostly won the battle for acceptance. Yes, there are still homophobic individuals, but the law and culture both officially accept gay men. That battle has been won. The battlelines have moved on to gender identity.

    And he’s possibly right that “kids who were met with support when they came out are probably too sophisticated for *Love, Simon*”. About a decade ago, I attended a community discussion about LGBT acceptance for young people, and a very loud & proud 17 year old boy stood up and said that when he came out at school, he became *more* popular. That was a totally foreign idea to me, who endured a very different experience at high school in the 1980s.

    These things should be applauded. We should be happy that gay teens these days have it better than we did. That’s why we endured the shit we did. It’s why us older generations fought the fights they did. To make the world this better place we’re now living in.

    In this better world, gay teens are more likely to face acceptance when they come out. Maybe *Love, Simon* does feel a bit outdated if you look at movies as a progressive medium that should be used to push the battle forward. But sometimes we don’t need to fight. Sometimes we can take a moment to relax and accept our new-found freedom. We can make a happy movie about a gay teen who isn’t being bullied and isn’t holding up protest signs and isn’t facing the spectre of death by AIDS.

    Today’s straight teens don’t *need* all the romance movies that are made for them, but they *want* them. Not every movie has to be a message movie. Some movies can be just for enjoyment. Now we’ve reached a stage where we can make gay teen movies just for enjoyment, rather than having to push an agenda or deliver a message. Let’s sit back and embrace what we’ve achieved. We can now make shallow schlocky gay teen romance movies just for the sake of making them. That’s a good thing!

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