This letter might end up being all over the place for the simple reason that I feel like I have a lot to say. It might be because it’s been a long time since both a book and a movie have simultaneously touched my life in such a positive and impactful way. Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda was a book I didn’t really know much about or if I should expect much from. All I knew was that it was being turned into a movie. Sometimes, as an adult, it feels weird to read Young Adult literature, but something about this story seemed important.
A Half-Lived Childhood
At times it’s a reminder that, as queer kids, much of our childhood isn’t quite lived. Most of us attempt to blend in, in order to survive. This book was cute but more than that it brought me back to some of my own high school experiences. In the closet, I had my own sort of “blue” despite the differences in endings. But it also reminded me how lucky kids are nowadays if they’re able to obtain and read this narrative. I don’t know if this was planned, but I feel like I might have gotten away with being able to bring it home simply because of the title–because homosapien means human and besides its root word gives no indication to adults about what kind of love story is about to unfold. Props to Becky Albertalli if this was planned or even if it was unintentional.
But that’s enough about the book. Let’s talk about the movie.
An Open Letter to Love
*long exhale* This is a narrative so many of us have been waiting for. A narrative I’ve been waiting for.
I knew walking into the theater that I was going to feel a whirlwind of emotion throughout the duration of the movie. Despite knowing everything that would happen, despite the movie magic twists, I knew that I hadn’t seen a movie like this. I was about to watch a movie with a kid in high school who was just like me. And there were so many times I saw myself in this movie, but this time represented. Instead of turning a character with some commonality into something I could relate to, I saw a version of myself. I saw a boy who liked boys on the big screen dealing with very real life things. Like secrets I had to keep:
Blue: Dear Simon, it’s nice to know there’s another guy at school with the same secret. When did you first realize?
Simon Spier: Dear Blue, It was a bunch of little things, like my first girlfriend.
While growing up it was always the little things. I never felt that electricity when I tried to normalize my attraction when I tried to be what I only saw represented back to me. I was different, I wasn’t straight, and as a result, I didn’t feel anything for my “first girlfriend” in the eighth grade.
This movie made me cry. Three times. It was beautifully done, crafted brilliantly, and acted well. It was the first rom-com of it’s kind and I’ve noticed its impact. It inspired me to write this letter, but on top of that, it’s inspired so many people to come out–including some of its stars. Both Keiynan Lonsdale and Joey Pollari came out during filming, representing both the B and G in LGBT. And I pray that Nick Robinson’s brother coming out touched his brother’s heart as much as it did mine. Not to mention that the director himself, Greg Berlanti, is a part of the community. We also can’t forget how adorable Ethan is (yaas queer-femm representation that is a force to be reckoned with). Honestly, I could go on and on because the representation we’ve all been waiting to see is there. And not only is it a sight to see, but it’s beautiful.
Fear of Rejection
Though my friend laughed as I pointed at Jennifer Garner and whispered, “meeeee” when she’d say one of her mom-of-the-year-one-liners it’s truly the type of parent (if I ever have the opportunity to become a parent) I’d want to be. And I’m sure we almost all had the same moment in theaters when we held our own breath when she said, “These last years, it’s almost like I can feel you holding your breath. You are still you, Simon. You can exhale now.” It was irony in it’s most beautiful form and I cried. Because despite having a loving family (that not everyone is blessed with) it can be terrifying to wonder if the people who love you most will reject you.
Blue: Simon, have you told anyone?
Simon Spier: No, I haven’t told anyone. Announcing who you are to the world is pretty terrifying.
Love, Simon is a movie I knew I needed. It was funny, charming, and beautifully done. It’s a movie that would have changed my life as a teenager if I had had enough courage to go and see it, but that had just as much of an impact as an adult. It’s a movie I will cherish because it taught me to remember a time not so far in the past when movies like these wouldn’t have existed–when representation wasn’t so sought after and stories like ours were swept under the rug. Love, Simon did that. Love, Simon changed that. And it’s my hope that it’s only up from here. Because we all deserve a great love story.
Everyone Deserves a Great Love Story
So to everyone behind this movie, the author included, thank you. The young queer boy that I was in high school needed this movie just as much as the adult me in the present. Because as a kid so much of my life was focused around not drawing too much attention and not paying much attention to what might give me away. And even after eight years of being out and proud, in the words of Simon Spier, I’m still, “done living in a world where I don’t get to be who I am. I deserve a great love story and I want someone to share it with.”