So, friends, let’s have a hopefully no spoilers chat about this movie.
I’ve seen so many people gush about it, as much as I have seen the discourse machine already rear it’s head into full analytical dissection. I’m just here to express my thoughts and emotions regarded to this film as candid as possible, just trying to be honest. That may mean I am mistaken, misinformed, have a different opinion, or just be really emotional/invested, or biased. I say that, and I own that as I write this. I am aware that my white, middle class queerness does inform my perspective as I write, too.
And one last thing before getting into it: this is your only content warning. The themes discussed or language used may be either triggering, upsetting, or stressful. It may not be for everyone, so that is you’re only warning. And, well, get ready for me to rant about, well, me, too.
One of my biggest fears of coming out not proving folks wrong, but proving them right.
I was a fag. That people calling me that before we ever new the term, seeing my sin in plain site, could possibly have more insight into who I was than I. That it was more than something that was wrong, or a shit thing to be. That I was that shit thing.
I didn’t want to even entertain the thought because being a shit thing also meant, well, that I was shit. A waste of space.
That I didn’t deserve to be here. To live.
Even in my most toxic, impulsive, or shitty behaviour, trying to prove I existed (or deserved too) centered around that question. My cries for attention, letting my loud voice carry, both trying to be who I was without conforming, but also Idol worshiping and seeking community in the popularity contests and drama, actually stemmed from a long anxiety that they were right about that, too.
That even in my ivory tower, I had assumed that my entitlement to life was an illusion. To it’s length, it’s laughs, it’s loves, and up and down’s, was always conditional.
I see eyed people who told me that wasn’t true, that God’s love was without conditions, and I was entitled to life because he created it. I had no words to explain I never felt, or never felt the extent to my right to live was either delusional/ condition based until arriving in Catholic school. It’s not just I never felt so judged, it was in those “accepting” communities I never felt so judging. God could never push you away, and neither could the faithful. To explain that’s the very time I started pushing folks away, or felt pushed. Like I was not allowed to exist, or be here, was in those earliest years.
Trying to find help in those communities felt like I was playing a game of “Fool me 9 times, shame on you.” 10? 11? 12? When was the time were the same was on me?
The very people who told me to sought help accused me of crying wolf. The people who said they would be there were the ones to scoff, or deject me, or hold the people I was scared of in high regards so they wouldn’t listen to me. Or, hold me in high regards when I was also being an ass, so they wouldn’t listen to those I hurt, either. (At times it felt like I was held to a higher standard but I would be lying to myself if this wasn’t also true).
I felt like saying “I exist” or “I was allowed too” was the very thing to violate the terms and conditions of the contract. When, I felt upset that this is the behaviour I was being taught, I would called out for both the behaviour, and the fact I would point out it was what we were teaching each other.
I was afraid that they were right. Or, that if I let them be right about being queer, a clear “terms and service” violation, then they would be right about whether I was allowed to live at all. Something I debated, a lot.
Both the thought of living and dying made me anxious. Both seemed to impossible to accept. To absurd.
But, here I am.
Here I am.
There have been people who’ve liked me. I have hurt people, but I’ve helped people. I’ve made folks smile.
And everyone of them said “the thing I appreciate about you is your desire to life. Your passion, your energy, the fact you can be yourself and accept yourself (even when you don’t make the best decisions, or folks mock you). Your smile. You enjoy being. Existing, being you. And that can be infectious.”
And part of that for me, for many folks, is natural. That is from the heart.
To explain that being in the closet wasn’t a straight out lie, but living a half truth. That I could both find this deep sense of appreciating the world and dread getting up in the morning. That just because I was out going doesn’t mean I was confident, or that I didn’t have crippling social anxiety.
That people could not understand how much that I wanted to be here, and yet still asked the question: “Did I deserve too?”
“Did I deserve to live?”
And though my parents are awesome, and have always been accepting. That didn’t mean I grew up in world where queerness, and specifically my queerness, felt like violating the terms and conditions to live. Being queer felt like I didn’t deserve to live more than when I legitimately did someone wrong.
Even after seeing people go before their time made me realize I couldn’t play this game anymore. Even after taking my name back, being close two years on hormones, to feeling so much better than ever before, I still play this game.
Less than I did. Considerably less. But I still do play it.
I mean, I was trying so hard to show that having things like: Mom and I having a good relationship especially when I was little (being a momma’s boy), liking both easy bake oven’s and action figures, being sensitive, having parents that would help me when I struggled (even if it was simple), that I had moments where Make up/pink/and glitter didn’t seem so evil as I was told they were, meant I was queer. That it meant they were right.
And to tell people that correlation isn’t causation, that I wasn’t “turned” queer, that I can have all these experiences and be queer, as much as someone else could have them and not be.
But, you know what?
It’s only after so long that I realized, maybe that was not the question I need to ask. Or even was the one I was really worried about.
Did it matter if they were right?
Not “who cares,” but, even if I was queer, that had no impact whether I had a right to live or not.
And slowly, framing the question from that way, made me slowly. Definitively answer their other question.
They were wrong, as much as they were right. I am queer, and I deserve to live. They are not mutually exclusive, and this is not debatable. It never was, or it never should’ve been. Or both.
And if I realized that, I may have not (accidentally and intentionally) dragged folks when I was down, too. I would have walked with them, rather than hide. Behind hate, my loud voice, or anything else. I wouldn’t have ran had I been as strong as people believed I was.
But for the first time, I feel stronger than I ever have been. In my heart. If I had been a cracked, broken person, I finally found where it was and I have patched it. Or started to patch it. I’ve found how to be a whole person of my own. Not an Island, not isolated, very much one of many billions of people, but a whole one, all the same.
I’m queer as fuck.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now, you may ask:
What the FUCK does this have to do with the movie?
Wasn’t this about “love Simon?”
This movie was about this, for me.
Simon navigating the closet, his worth, his relationships, his queerness.
People talk about how this movie is about “assimilation” more than living our queer stories unapologetically. “We’re just like you,” “you haven’t changed,” a “straight passing” kind of gay.
I’m not saying there weren’t elements of that. Or that there isn’t more to that perspective that’s super valid and I may not do it justice as I type, here. And it’s a little white, middle class, kind of gay. The movie doesn’t have a lot outside of the G in “Lgbtq+,” either.
But I was sitting beside a queer person I could only hope to be, an inspiration from another generation. We talked how this didn’t exist (Movie’s like this) when they were growing up, and I who came after could relate to that. Or, that if movie’s and shows did exist when I was younger, my relationship was either ignorant or tenuous at best. Yet, we both bawled our fucking eyes out when we saw this film. It wasn’t just for the teens and future generations to come, as much as it was for them, too. This movie about a white gay kid reminded us that we both deserved to live.
I may be wrong to speak for them, but I think the emotions spoke for themselves.
We cried for a reason.
We deserved to be here, like Simon. We may have been afraid to speak up. We may have messed up. We may get lost in the drama. We may fall down, like Simon.
But we get up too. Like Simon.
And so, if Simon was a real kid (and someways, he and all his friends are) I would give him a big hug, if he was up for it. Because, he loves, with a very big heart.
And we love you too, Kiddo.
And your Movie,
We’re so proud of you.