On Sunday Joe and I, along with Marissa and the girls, went to see 'Love, Simon." For those of you that don't know, this is a movie about a teenage boy who is dealing with coming out as gay. The movie has the critics strongly on its side and the gay community holding its breath waiting to see if anyone will go. As elders in the LGBTQ+ community, Joe and I went in a little unprepared for our emotional reaction to the film. That it exists. That it tells a story that we can relate to. That it's a love story. Those things, which we knew going in, well, the experience was more powerful than the anticipation. Something that is almost never true.
But I wanted to write about the fact that there were a lot of teens in the theatre. Both young men and young women. We heard them chatting, too loudly. We heard them eating, too loudly. We heard them switching seats, too loudly. They took up much more space than the seats would have predicted. But they were there and we were glad of it. Glad that they chose to come to this movie, and glad of the support that their presence would mean to the box office. If we want more of these, we need money in the registers, we know that.
Throughout the movie Joe and I just didn't look at each other. We didn't decide this going in but we both knew that it was the best approach. We didn't want the kids to see us laying on the floor crying. So we held it together and just cried and cried and cried. I can't explain to you why if you don't already know. The movie was bright and funny and moving. But wow.
The thing was, at the end, at one of the pivotal points of the movie, the teens who had been silenced by the story they were seeing, starting applauding and cheering. Out of the blue, and their cheers were authentic, they, like us, were unused to seeing what we just saw. And they cheered.
Throughout the last few minutes there was more cheering and hooting and applauding, these kids were into it. When it was over, there was a final burst of applause and then the noise started as they talked about the film and how brilliant it had been.
We loved the movie.
But we loved it even more that teens could go and see a movie about a fellow gay teen and react with love and hope rather than with jeers and revulsion.
Because that has been our journey. And "Love, Simon" is another stop along the way.